10/06/2009 7:20 PM ET
MLB finishes 2009 season with fifth highest attendance ever
More Than 73.4 Million Fans Attend Games Despite Economic Woes
Major League Baseball announced today that despite the nation's worst economic downturn in 80 years, the 30 Clubs drew 73,418,479 fans during the 2009 championship season, producing the fifth largest total attendance in MLB history.
Two of Major League Baseball's most historic franchises, the reigning World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies and the Boston Red Sox, set all-time club records, drawing 3,600,693 and 3,062,699, respectively. The Los Angeles Dodgers led the Major Leagues in attendance with 3,761,669 for an average of 46,400.
Nine clubs drew more than three million fans (Dodgers, New York Yankees, Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, Red Sox and Milwaukee Brewers) and 10 clubs averaged more than 35,000 fans per game (the above clubs plus the San Francisco Giants).
Because of the economy, this year's total is 6.6 percent less than last year's total, but is actually only 5.2 percent lower when accounting for the reduced capacities of the two new ballparks in New York. The total number of seats available at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium is approximately 1.5 million fewer than at the old ballparks.
As household spending decreased and national unemployment figures across the United States reached a 26-year high of 9.7 percent in August, many of the clubs that saw the largest decreases in attendance played in markets that suffered unemployment rates that exceeded the national average.
"Major League Baseball is grateful to all of its fans for their remarkable enthusiasm for the national pastime this season," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "Given these challenging economic times, I am exceedingly proud of the manner in which our Clubs have responded, demonstrating a deep commitment to maintain baseball's stature as the most affordable and the most family-friendly sport. The 2009 attendance being among the five highest figures of all-time reflects the vibrancy and resiliency of our game."
In addition, Minor League Baseball drew 41,644,518 fans this season. When combined with MLB's total, more than 115,000,000 fans attended a Major League or Minor League game in more than 200 cities.
Among the club attendance highlights this season:
- The Los Angeles Dodgers welcomed 3,761,669 fans to Dodger Stadium in 81 openings, an average of 46,440 per game. The Dodgers led the Majors in both overall and average attendance. The 3,761,669 attendance mark is the second highest in Dodgers franchise history, trailing only the 3,857,036 who came through the turnstiles in 2007. The Dodgers have reached the three million mark in home attendance for 14 consecutive years and the 3.6 million mark in five straight campaigns.
- The New York Yankees led the American League in attendance (3,719,358) for the seventh consecutive season.
- The Philadelphia Phillies sold out 73 games this season, including 42 in a row to end the season, en route to a franchise record attendance of 3,600,693.
- The Boston Red Sox drew a total of 3,062,699 fans at Fenway Park, surpassing the 2008 mark of 3,048,248 and establishing a new club record for home attendance for the 10th consecutive year. The Red Sox increased their home attendance for the 12th consecutive season, the longest current streak in the Majors. On Wednesday, June 17 vs. Florida, the club celebrated the 500th straight sellout at Fenway Park. The Red Sox ended the regular season with 550 consecutive sellouts dating back to May 15, 2003.
- The Milwaukee Brewers reached the three million mark (3,037,451) in attendance for the second consecutive season and the second time in franchise history. Milwaukee's 2009 attendance included 27 sell-outs.
- The Texas Rangers saw an attendance increase of 210,159 in 78 dates over the 2008 total, which was done in 80 dates. It was the team's biggest increase from one year to the next since 2003 to 2004 (+418,553). The Rangers' increase in attendance per date from 2008 to 2009 was up by 3,318, the highest in the Major Leagues. Texas had 30 crowds of at least 30,000 in 2009, compared to 19 in 2008.
- The Kansas City Royals saw a 13.9 percent increase in attendance this season for their largest total since 1993. The Royals posted eight sell-outs and 17 crowds of more than 30,000.
- The Detroit Tigers finished first in attendance in the American League Central and fourth in attendance in the A.L. The Tigers' total 2009 attendance was the fourth highest in the 10-year history of Comerica Park and the fifth highest all-time in franchise history, dating back to 1901.
- The Minnesota Twins registered their third highest attendance (2,416,237) in club history, and their highest figure since 1992, in the final season at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. Their only higher seasons came in 1988 and 1992, both of which followed their World Series Championship seasons.
- The New York Mets played to 93 percent capacity crowds in their first season at Citi Field.
- The Houston Astros reached the 2.5 million mark for the sixth consecutive season and in 10 of the last 11 seasons since 1999. The Astros have drawn 28,168,920 fans in their 10 seasons at Minute Maid Park.
- The Chicago White Sox finished the season with 2,284,163 tickets sold, the eighth-highest attendance total in White Sox history. The club also reached the two million tickets sold milestone in team history for the fifth straight time (11th overall). The five consecutive seasons with at least two million tickets sold are a club record, surpassing a similar four-year streak from 1990-93.
- The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim topped three million fans (3,240,386) for the sixth consecutive season as they posted the second highest American League attendance for the sixth straight year.
- The Colorado Rockies (2,665,080) posted their highest attendance since 2002.
- The Chicago Cubs exceeded three million (3,168,859) for the sixth consecutive season.
- Both Florida clubs, the Florida Marlins and the Tampa Bay Rays, saw increases of 8.8 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.
- The two Los Angeles area clubs combined to draw 7,002,055 fans; the two New York clubs totaled 6,873,620; and the two Chicago clubs attracted 5,453,022.