The Real Disparity In Major League Baseball Is Driven By Television

A team’s popularity in still most often judged by attendance. But with the skyrocketing growth in television revenue, a team’s success is becoming more dependent on the size of its television audience.

Below is a look at the average local audience for 27 of the 30 Major League Baseball teams, including average attendance and the average number of households tuning into games in each team’s local market. Television data was not available for the Dodgers, Astros, or Blue Jays.

To no surprise, the Yankees have the most local fans watching games, either at home or at the game. What may be surprising is that no other team is even close despite several teams in other very large markets with loyal fan bases. Meanwhile, nobody is watching the Marlins despite a new stadium and a playoff-contending team.

This doesn’t mean attendance is not important. It is still a big chunk of the revenue stream. But maybe more importantly, television audience can potentially be influence by whether or not it looks like other people are interested in the team. That factor is strongly influenced by what fans see in the stands.

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