A Look At 2018 MLB Pro Attendance
MLB Pro Ticket Price and Attendance Analysis
The following takes a look at ticket price and attendance information from the 2018 season.
The 2018 MLB Pro season saw just under 81 million fans attend games across the league. Nineteen organizations saw a rise in attendance this past season, led by the Kansas City Royals who saw their attendance more than double this season. After averaging 67 wins a season from 2014-2017, the Royals won 92 games this season. The Padres, Pirates, Orioles, and Rockies also saw dramatic rises in attendance of more than 15% compared to last season. Among these five teams, only the Orioles increased ticket prices this past season enroute to their 100+ win season.
Seven of the ten playoff teams averaged at least a filled a stadium capacity of 90% on the season. The Angels, Mariners, and Twins each averaged having at least 95% of their stadium filled for the season. The San Diego Padres were the only non-playoff team to have more than 90% of their stadium filled.
Among the eleven organizations that saw a drop in attendance this past season, four teams (Angels, Astros, Cardinals, Reds) saw a drop under 3% from last season. Fans in Chicago, Detroit, New York, and Philadelphia were not as kind to the Cubs, Tigers, Yankees, and Phillies in terms of showing up for what were tough seasons for those respective teams.
No team saw attendance drop more in 2018 than the Chicago Cubs. After winning 85 games in 2017, the Cubs embarked on a rebuilding season that began with an active Rule V draft last December. The revamped Cubs roster mustered only 53 wins this season. As a result, the Cubs saw attendance drop by more than 33% in 2018. Likewise, after a change in the front-office just prior to the start of the season, the Detroit Tigers went through one of their toughest years in recent memory. Along with a mid-season trade of beloved Stephen Strasburg, Tiger ownership saw attendance also drop by more than 30%.
The Yankees first losing season since 2012 was met with frustration from Yankee fans. After a 2017 season in which Yankee Stadium was nearly 3/4 full for every game, Yankee fans barely filled Yankee Stadium up half-way in 2018.
The average ticket price across MLB Pro franchises dropped from $26.37 in 2017 to $24.22 in 2018. The Phillies had the highest priced average ticket at $30.25, a fact that likely helped lead to the sizable drop in attendance. The Phillies were joined by the Cardinals, Mets, and Rangers as the only four teams to charge at least $30 per game.
The Diamondbacks and Indians had the cheapest average ticket price across the league at $15. Indian fans responded by showing up at a clip 11% higher than the previous season. While on the season Arizona saw their overall attendance drop from 2017, attendance rose steadily during the second half of the season.
LEAGUE OFFICE TAKE
While ticket prices will continue to be acceptable anywhere within the $15-$40 range, it is imperative that teams use some discretion when adjusting prices. In 2018, while 4 teams had an average ticket price of $30 or more, only the Mets averaged more than 75% filled capacity. Please keep in mind your team’s on-field success, player popularity, market size, fan loyalty when setting your ticket price.
The Board will continue to monitor teams and what they ultimately decide to charge. If we determine a price to be unrealistic according to the above guideline, we will be in contact with said team in the hope of finding an appropriate ticket price.
Taking that into account, keep in mind these examples as reminders when setting your prices:
- The Mets, a team who has averaged 94 wins a season from 2014-2018, with an astronomical market size, and excellent fan loyalty and interest charges $30. This should be on the extreme high-end of the league.
- Similarly, the Angels, with similar factors to the Mets charges $28.85 per game.
- The Mariners, a team with only an above average market size, but with long-term success, good loyalty, and high fan interest charges a modest $23.50.
If you have any questions on the matter, do not hesitate to ask. I would be more than willing to offer my take on any price change you are considering.