(from Sports Business Journal, October 8, 2012) Major League Baseball (MLB) concluded its 2012 regular season with much success in terms of ticket sales. Ticket sales represent the strength and “health” of the league. As ticket sales continue to increase overall for the league, it shows hope for the future.
The MLB ended the 2012 regular season with a 2% increase in total attendance, with a total of 74.86 million, in comparison to last year. At the beginning of the season, the MLB Commissioner, Bud Selig, predicted a 3-5% increase from last season. Although it did not quite reach that goal, the season total was the highest since the 2008 regular season. Some of the teams that had the highest attendance increase compared to 2011 would not have been possible if it wasn’t for certain factors. The Miami Marlins, who had a losing record in 2012, surpassed their attendance total from last year. This was made possible because their franchise moved to Miami just this year, and they are playing in a brand new, state of the art stadium. Another factor that helped increase attendance totals for teams were organizations coming under new ownership. The Los Angeles Dodgers are now partially owned by Basketball Hall of Famer, Earvin “Magic” Johnson. New ownership brought a new attitude and energy for the Dodgers, and gave fans a reason to want to come watch them.
Another piece that was part of this change was the effort organizations made to bring in a fun and friendly atmosphere through marketing and promotions. Andy Feffer, Chief Operating Officer of the Washington Nationals, stated that “All the many things we did around the ballpark with the new amenities, the free concerts, the revamped promotions, creating additional value and so forth, it was all designed to help put us in a position to take off very quickly when the team came together as we thought it would.”
If organizations continue to market their prospective teams as they have done, and continue to take steps forward in these regards, attendance will continue to increase over the years.