You've seen the pictures of the empty crowds at baseball parks in April already. CNBC's Darren Rovell has been tweeting photos of those stadiums since the season began, and he recently tallied the numbers, found average attendance at each ball park and compared it to the previous season's numbers at the same point.
In order to be fair, Rovell waited for each team to play at least two home series and then counted up the attendance during the total number of games played during those series. He finished by comparing it to the same number of games last year. His findings below.
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.
As he points out, teams like the Mets and the Yankees (down nearly six and eight percent, respectively) are somewhat expected due to high ticket prices (I paid ~$130 for three field level seats in left field for a Rockies-Mets game recently), but that Cleveland and Kansas City, both teams at the top of the AL Central, are experiencing drops around five percent and 17 percent, respectively. Maybe that's because no one knows yet if these teams will legitimately be contenders in June and beyond.
As for the Rockies, there has been a 7.1 percent increase from last year, an average of 34,560 in nine games. Remember that the Rockies had a home game postponed due to rain in their season-opening series with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The attendance increase shouldn't be surprising. With monster contracts given out to Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez during the offseason, the fans want to come out and see these guys perform. And as a result of the Rockies having these two players (and pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez), the Rockies have a legitimate shot at winning the NL West. And being in first place in the NL West also helps things.
Among the other NL West teams, the Giants have experienced a 21.1 percent increase, while the Padres are right behind them with a 15.8 percent spike. The Diamondbacks have a slight increase at 0.1 percent, but the Dodgers lag behind with a 13.2 percent decline.