The narrative has been that Major League Baseball is dying. MLB games are slow and boring, the league cannot attract young fans, and no one cares any more. The NFL, college football, and the NBA have surpassed baseball as the National Pastime. Baseball, and its fans, were dying off.
Well, so much for that narrative. Jon Heyman from the New York Post noted that attendance throughout the league is up by 7.8% over 2022. This is even with A’s fans boycotting the team in protest of their horrendous ownership.
MLB finding a second life?
There are several reasons as to why this may be the case. The new rules to speed up the game and increase action have certainly made an impact. The World Baseball Classic was everything that the league had hoped for, adding much needed excitement to the fanbase. Surprising teams such as the Reds, Marlins, and Orioles are helping boost those numbers. Even the Rays have seen a significant increase in fans at the stadium. Clearly, something is working.
It is fair to wonder if this is going to be sustainable. Those surprise teams could easily fade back to the pack. The novelty of the new rules can fade, causing attendance to drop once again. A three month time frame may be premature to claim that baseball is back and gaining popularity once more.
At the same time, maybe this increased interest can last. Maybe Rob Manfred’s tweaks to the game will be a catalyst to actually help bring baseball back to the forefront and get younger fans into the sport. Maybe, just maybe, Manfred actually got something right with his rule changes.
Major League Baseball is seeing a sizable increase in attendance this season. Maybe MLB is not dying off after all despite all reports otherwise.