Photo: Flickr/Jeff Keen
Major League Baseball opened a few days earlier this year in an effort to avoid November baseball. But the true benefit may have come at the box office.While the regular season typically starts on a Monday or a Tuesday, this season MLB opened with six games on Thursday (March 31) and 11 games on Friday (April 1), to ensure that World Series would not stretch into October.
In the three seasons prior to this one, the 15 teams that opened the regular season at home averaged 44,052 fans on opening day. However, on day two, average attendance dropped to 27,878, a decrease of 36.7 per cent.
This year, big league teams averaged 43,954 fans on opening day. But attendance on day two was still strong, with an average of 31,642, a decrease of only 28.0 per cent. The bump is thanks to a schedule in which two of the opening series played their second game on Friday. And the other 13 series played their second game on Saturday.
Here is the year-by-year breakdown of attendance from game one to game two…
This season, 474,636 tickets were sold for each team’s second game. That is an increase of more than 72,000 tickets sold over game two a year ago. And that includes a day two attendance of 9,853 in Cleveland on Saturday where the game time temperature was 44 degrees.
Ultimately, it is just one weekend in a very long season. But while the typical baseball season starts by following up their opening day bang with a big thud, this year, they were able to maintain the momentum into the weekend.
Boosting attendance may not have been the original purpose. But ultimately, it could mean a lot more than avoiding the possibility of one or two games in November. Plus-One for Bud Selig.
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