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Does Major League Baseball Have an Attendance Problem?
CNBC.com | April 20, 2011 | 01:19 PM EDT

After four years of record attendance, Major League Baseball has had three years of attendance declines. And judging from the empty stadium pictures my followers have sent to me on Twitter this season, things don’t appear to be getting better.

But the ugly pictures actually aren’t reality. These pictures are more of an image crisis than a business crisis.

How do I know?

I crunched the numbers.

I waited until each team played a minimum of two homestands to minimize the opponent factor, which obviously can affect attendance drastically.

I took into account how many games each team has played so far and compared them with the same amount of games at the beginning of the season last year.

What did I find?

If you average every team’s attendance so far and compare it to that exact amount of games last year, Major League Baseball is only averaging 304 fans fewer per game than last year. While that 1 percent drop is significant, it’s not as much as I would have thought from some of the pictures I’ve seen.

It’s not a revelation that negative images stick in your head more than the positive ones. Take this crowd shot in Cincinnati last night, where the Reds drew 12,994 fans. Now what if I told you that, through the first 11 games, the team’s average crowd of 23,666 fans per game is 10.4% better than it was last year?

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