Does MLB Have An Attendance Problem?

Seems like it's the same thing every April. We see images of empty seats in major league ballparks and suddenly the sky is falling. This April's been no different. But CNBC's Darren Rovell has crunched the numbers, and here's what he found:

If you average every team's attendance so far and compare it to that exact amount of games last year, Major League Baseball is only averaging 304 fans fewer per game than last year. While that 1 percent drop is significant, it's not as much as I would have thought from some of the pictures I've seen.

And one percent isn't truly significant. It's worth mentioning, but certainly might be attributed to lousy weather or a particular team's issues.

Granted, a one-percent decline doesn't square with the increase of three to seven percent predicted by Sports Business Journal (and seconded by me). But it's also not much to worry about. Sure, if you have enough years with one-percent declines you're starting to lose real money. But I'm highly confident that ticket prices increased by more than one percent this season, and for that and many other reasons I'm extremely confident that MLB's revenues will be up once again. Which is most of the thing, really. If revenues are up, everybody's happy and nobody's agitating for some idiotic stance in the labor negotiations.

There are plenty of things to worry about in this world. Major League Baseball's attendance in April 2011 absolutely is not one of them.

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