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Volume 26 No. 5
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Quality Of Play, Attendance Drop Should Cause Concern For MLB

The Giants' average attendance in April dropped 17% from the same month last season

There is a "troublesome big picture" emerging across MLB concerning the "overall quality of play," according to Bill Madden of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. There are "only a few really good teams in baseball, a whole lot of mediocre teams, and way too many bad to awful teams." It is "understandable why more and more fans appear to be turning off to baseball." Between the "multitude of bad teams, tanking or otherwise, and the effects all the analytics are having on the action in the game, there is more than sufficient evidence that the attendance decline last year and continuing this year is not an anomaly but rather a matter of grave concern" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/5). In S.F., John Shea wrote as MLB attendance "continued to dwindle" last month, it is "easy for the honchos to blame the weather." But it is "not just inclement weather" affecting the crowds. Shea: "We once were led to believe home runs sell. Well, home runs were hit at a record pace in March and April ... and that didn’t seem to boost attendance." The Giants last month "took the biggest hit, losing an average of 6,613 fans per game, from 39,278 to 32,665 -- a 17% nosedive." Home runs, strikeouts and walks "have taken over the game, giving us less action and more down time" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/5).

BAD PERSPECTIVE? In N.Y., Bob Raissman noted ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith while recently discussing MLB's attendance and TV ratings issues "pointed his finger at the players for not working harder to market the sport." However, Smith "neglected to highlight another reason the game is on the downside" by "not adding ESPN to his list." Compared to the NFL and NBA, ESPN "treats its other partner, MLB, like a second-class citizen." Raissman: "Does MLB have as many studio shows as the other sports? Does ESPN promote its baseball coverage throughout the year?" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/5).