MLB attendance: The final decline numbers for 2018

MILWAUKEE, WI - JUNE 24: Fans display an American flag during the singing of the national anthem before the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park on June 24, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - JUNE 24: Fans display an American flag during the singing of the national anthem before the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park on June 24, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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MLB attendance
BOSTON – APRIL 13: TJ Gonick, 3, of Nutley, NH, is first through the turnstiles during the Red Sox home opener at Fenway Park in Boston on April 13, 2015. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) /

We’ve looked twice at MLB attendance this season. So how did things finish up for MLB at the turnstiles?

MLB attendance didn’t look so hot three-quarters of the way through May – only eleven teams were ahead of their 2017 paces in attendance. Halfway through July there were nine teams whose attendance was better than last season. Yikes!

After the wondrous warmth of summer and the excitement of pennant races producing not one, but two playoff games for division titles, surely that’s improved. Two extra games couldn’t have hurt MLB attendance.

At season’s end 13 teams posted an increase in attendance. The full list is, alphabetically by city or state, the Diamondbacks, Braves, Rockies, Astros, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers, Yankees, Athletics, Phillies, Padres, Mariners, and Nationals. The Astros attendance grew the most, by over half a million. Put another way, however, 56.7 percent of MLB teams dropped in attendance.

But that 13 would suggest the warmer weather helped a bit, right? Not so fast, Bunky. Even a casual glance at the Oct. 1 attendance chart produces an instant pause.

First, there are the Angels and Nationals lines. Washington attracted 57 more people per game than in 2017 in a failed push to win their division championship and, thus, make the playoffs. The American League team “assigned” to Los Angeles attracted eight more per game. In all 631 more tickets were sold to people interested in seeing Mike Trout at home than were sold last year. The team closest to the flat attendance line but with a decline, the White Sox, hosted 255 fewer people per game than last year, or at least sold them tickets. These three teams could be called “effectively flat,” thus leaving 11 teams in the black and 16 in the red for attendance (or at least 256 tickets away from “absolutely flat”).

The Red Sox were the next closest to absolutely flat (at minus-273 per game), but they are constrained by a small venue that sells out almost all the time. They’re “always” going to be close to the year-over-year break-even line.

All in all, MLB attendance dropped for the sixth straight year in terms of tickets sold. This season’s total was 69,671,272, the first figure below 70 million since 2003.