09/29/2011 1:47 PM ET
MLB finishes 2011 with fifth highest attendance ever
Baseball draws highest attendance since 2008
Major League Baseball announced today that the 30 Clubs eclipsed the attendance of the 2009 and 2010 seasons by drawing 73,425,568 fans in the 2011 regular season, marking the fifth highest attendance in the sport's history and the most since the 2008 season (78,588,004).
This season's total attendance was 0.5 percent greater than last year's total of 73,054,407, which included six more games played (2,424) than this season (2,418). Overall, the last eight years make up the eight best-attended seasons in the history of Major League Baseball, including four record-breaking years. Eighteen of the Major League Clubs finished the 2011 season with an increase over their 2010 attendance. Nine Clubs drew more than three million fans this season, while 13 Clubs topped the 2.5 million mark.
Major League Baseball earned the increase despite unusually inclement weather throughout much of the regular season. The last time a regular season had more rainouts than this year's 51 was 1997, which had 54.
For the first time ever, the Philadelphia Phillies led all of Major League Baseball in overall and average attendance with franchise records of 3,680,718 total fans and a per-game average of 45,441 at Citizens Bank Park, which has now hosted 204 consecutive regular season sellouts. The New York Yankees paced the American League with 3,653,680 fans, averaging 45,107 fans per game at Yankee Stadium. Many Clubs saw milestones in their markets this season. In addition to the Phillies, three other Clubs - the Milwaukee Brewers, the San Francisco Giants and the Texas Rangers - set franchise records. The Boston Red Sox sold out each of their 81 home games, extending their Major League-record streak of consecutive sellouts at Fenway Park to 712. The Club that saw the largest year-to-year increase was the Cleveland Indians, who drew nearly 450,000 more fans than 2010. The Colorado Rockies and the Pittsburgh Pirates drew their largest season totals since 2001.
The excitement of both the American League and National League Wild Card races and the competition for home-field advantage, which went down to the final day of the season in both Leagues, helped make the season's last weekend the second-best attended of 2011, with 1,629,105 fans attending from Friday through Sunday. The weekend was highlighted by 626,838 fans attending the 17 games on Saturday, the seventh highest single-day attendance total in MLB history and the best one-day total since May 17, 2008. Last Saturday's contests drew an average crowd of 36,873 per game. Yesterday, the final day of the regular season brought eight games that impacted the Postseason.
"Major League Baseball is grateful to all of the loyal fans who filled our ballparks in such remarkable numbers this year and witnessed a historic final night of the season," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "The resiliency of our sport never ceases to amaze. Earning the fifth highest attendance in history amid such challenging economic times reaffirms the incredible passion and enthusiasm of the fans of our national pastime. There is no doubt that this sport is more popular today than it has ever been in its long, storied history."
Attendance highlights among the Clubs included:
- The Boston Red Sox totaled 3,054,001 fans at Fenway Park in 2011, the second-highest mark ever behind their total of 3,062,699 in 2009. It marked the fourth time in club history (all since 2008) that the Red Sox have reached the three-million mark. In addition, Boston sold out all 81 home games to extend their Major-League record to 712 consecutive sellouts at Fenway Park dating back to May 15, 2003.
- The Chicago Cubs, with 3,017,966 fans attending, reached the three-million mark for the eighth season in a row and are one of only four Major League franchises to surpass the mark in every year since 2004. The Cubs had eight crowds in excess of 42,000 fans, including a season-high of 42,374 on August 20th vs. St. Louis, the largest regular season attendance at Wrigley Field in more than 33 years. Until 2011, the Cubs had not hosted a regular season crowd in excess of 42,000 fans since the 1978 campaign.
- The Cleveland Indians total attendance of 1,840,835 is an increase of 449,151 over their 2010 home total of 1,391,644, marking the largest increase in the Majors this season.
- The Colorado Rockies drew a total of 2,909,777 fans to Coors Field in 2011, marking the highest total attendance since 3,159,385 fans attended games in 2001.
- The Kansas City Royals had an average attendance of 26,532 during September games this season, which was a 39 percent increase over September/October 2010 (19,141) and a 57 percent increase over September 2009 (16,879).
- The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, with 3,166,321 fans attending, surpassed the three million mark for the ninth consecutive season to extend the current club record and join the New York Yankees as the only other American League club to accomplish the feat in that same time.
- The Milwaukee Brewers drew 3,071,373 fans in 2011 to set a new all-time single-season attendance record, surpassing the 3,068,458 fans in 2008. This season marked the third time in franchise history and the third time in the last four years that the Brewers have eclipsed the three-million mark in attendance.
- The Minnesota Twins drew 3,168,107 fans to Target Field in 2011, marking the second consecutive season and third time in franchise history that the Twins have surpassed three million fans, joining 1988 (3,030,672) and 2010 (3,223,640).
- The New York Yankees drew an American League-best 3,653,680 fans in 2011 and averaged an A.L.-high 45,107 fans per game to mark the ninth straight season that the Yankees have led the A.L. in attendance. New York had 20 sellouts in 2011, the most in the three-year history of the current Yankee Stadium.
- The Philadelphia Phillies led the Majors in total attendance (3,680,718) and average attendance (45,441) for the first time in franchise history, and set franchise records with both figures for the sixth straight season. The Phillies sold out each of their 81 home games in 2011 and now have 204 consecutive regular season sellouts at Citizens Bank Park dating back to July 7, 2009.
- The Pittsburgh Pirates drew 1,940,429 fans in 2011 for the fourth-highest figure in the franchise's 125-year history behind 2001 (new ballpark), 1991 (went to NLCS) and 1990 (went to NLCS).
- The St. Louis Cardinals drew 3,093,954 fans in 2011 to reach the three-million mark for the eighth consecutive season and 15th season overall. The Cardinals have now surpassed three million in each of their six seasons at Busch Stadium III since 2006.
- The San Francisco Giants drew 3,387,303 fans in 2011 to set a new all-time single-season attendance record in the 128-year history of the Giants, surpassing the previous best of 3,277,244 set in 2001. This season marked the 10th time that San Francisco has surpassed the three-million mark for attendance.
- The Texas Rangers established a new franchise record for home attendance in a season with 2,946,949 fans in 2011, surpassing the 2,945,244 set in 1997. The Rangers' average attendance of 36,382 was the second-highest in club history behind the 40,374 per-game average over 62 dates in 1994. In addition, the Rangers had an increase of 441,778 fans from their 2010 total, marking the highest increase from one full season to the next in Rangers Ballpark in Arlington history.