The Collapse Of The Sports Ticket Bubble

Football Empty Stadium Seats Rain

Photo: AP Images

A few months ago, it seemed like Major League Baseball was in the throes of a ticket apocalypse. Through the first two weeks of the season, six teams had set all-time single-game lows at their current homes.The surprising Cleveland Indians led the American League Central in the standings, but remained in the cellar at the turnstiles.

The New York Yankees, whose ultrapricey new stadium has been beset by empty seats since it opened in 2009, hosted record-low crowds for four games in a row. It was as if fans, having quietly absorbed more than a decade of price hikes and the advent of $9 beers, had spontaneously decided to go on strike.

Ticket sales have improved since—overall attendance is now roughly flat year over year. Even so, there’s a good chance this will mark the fourth straight year that Major League Baseball has seen ticket sales slide after a record year in 2007. You can’t blame it on steroids, either. NFL, NBA, and NHL attendance have likewise dipped over the last three years.


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