Is Major League Baseball Back?

MLB just had its highest-attended weekend in April or May since 2017

The Major League Baseball logo on a baseball on the dugout steps.
Major League Baseball just had a major weekend in terms of attendance.
Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty

With the playoffs wrapping up in the NBA and NHL in short order, Major League Baseball is about to be the only game in towns across the country out of the big four pro sports leagues in the United States. And, after a number of lackluster seasons in terms of interest, TV ratings and attendance, MLB might finally be able to take some strides back to regaining its status as America’s Pastime (behind the NFL).

Possibly due to the implementation of the pitch clock, which has shortened the average game time across MLB by nearly 30 minutes to a minuscule 2:36, fans are flocking back to the ballpark. According to Front Office Sports, MLB’s collective attendance over the league’s 45 games last weekend was 1.52 million, baseball’s best draw for a 45-game slate since June 2019 and the best weekend attendance in April or May since 2017.

On Sunday, with all 30 teams playing and the Mets and Guardians facing off in a doubleheader, the weekend hit a high point with 546,569 fans in attendance for the full slate of games. That’s the best draw MLB has had since welcoming 581,314 total fans on October 1 of last season, which was the Saturday of the final weekend of the 2022 regular season. That’s a great sign for MLB as the league also experienced gains in national TV viewership and MLB.TV streaming in April.

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The same cannot be said for the PGA, which was only able to capture an average of 4.51 million viewers on Sunday on CBS for the final round of the PGA Championship. That was the worst draw for the tourney’s fourth round since just 4 million watched Ireland’s Pádraig Harrington win the PGA Championship in 2008. (Perhaps PGA fans just weren’t interested in tuning in to watch LIV Golf defector Brooks Koepka win?)

Back to baseball, these were the top five series last weekend by average attendance:

  • Dodgers at Cardinals — 44,891
  • Cubs at Phillies — 42,909
  • Red Sox at Padres — 41,523
  • Mariners at Braves — 40,292
  • Orioles at Blue Jays — 38,580

Notice neither the New York Yankees nor the Mets are on that list. Once those teams get their acts together, and there’s every reason to think that they will, New Yorkers and NY fans in other cities will start heading to the ballpark in droves and provide a further boost to MLB’s surging attendance. It’s probably too soon to officially declare that baseball is back, but the game is definitely on the way and that’s a good thing.

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