Photo: Eric Beato via Flickr
Earlier this season, attendance in Major League Baseball was down for what would be the fourth straight season. But if this past weekend is any indication, baseball might be on the road to recovery. And that could be a good sign for the American economy.In the latest instalment of interleague play, teams sold 1.65 million tickets for the weekend’s 45 games. That is an average of more than 36,500 per game and is the single-biggest weekend attendance mark since September, 2008.
For a comparison, the NFL would have to average more than 100,000 per game to reach 1.65 million in attendance for a single weekend.
The Cubs were the big winners, as they hosted the Yankees, and set a new team record for a three-game series with 126,283 tickets sold.
Even in places like Tampa Bay, attendance was strong this weekend, with the Rays drawing nearly 63,000 for the less-than-sexy matchup against the Marlins. And the Rockies had their first two sellouts since opening day as they faced the Tigers.
Love it or hate, interleague match ups are here to stay. And with realignment on the horizon, we may see even more.
On the bigger scale, the boost in attendance is a good sign that people are loosening their grip on their discretionary income. And if baseball attendance is a good sign for the economy, it is a good sign for the future of a sport that has struggled in smaller markets where attendance walks a tight-wire and is dependent on a strong local economy.
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