It was a good year for Major League Baseball and the Philadelphia Phillies: MLB recorded the fifth-highest attendance in its history, while the Phillies led baseball in attendance for the first time.
This year's total of 73,425,568 was the most since the 2008 season (78,588,004) and 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).
Put together, the last eight years make up the eight best-attended seasons in the history of Major League Baseball, including four record-breaking years. Eighteen franchises finished the 2011 season with an increase over their 2010 total attendance, with nine teams drawing more than three million fans.
As mentioned, it was a good year for the Phillies, who led MLB teams 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.
"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 MLB Commissioner 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."
Here's a listing of the attendance, ranked by average:
|2||New York Yankees||3,653,680||81||45,107||46,491||-0.03|
|3||San Francisco Giants||3,387,303||81||41,818||37,499||0.12|
|5||Los Angeles Angels||3,166,321||81||39,090||40,122||-0.03|
|6||St. Louis Cardinals||3,093,954||81||38,196||40,755||-0.06|
|8||Boston Red Sox||3,054,001||81||37,703||37,610||0.00|
|11||Los Angeles Dodgers||2,935,139||81||36,236||43,979||-0.18|
|14||New York Mets||2,378,549||79||30,108||32,401||-0.07|
|17||San Diego Padres||2,143,018||81||26,457||26,318||0.01|
|21||Chicago White Sox||2,001,117||81||24,705||27,091||-0.09|
|25||Toronto Blue Jays||1,818,103||81||22,445||20,068||0.12|
|27||Kansas City Royals||1,724,450||81||21,289||20,191||0.05|
|29||Tampa Bay Rays||1,529,168||81||18,878||22,758||-0.17|
As you can see, some pretty obvious winners and losers. Winners were teams down in the dumps for several years who emerged as contenders this season: Cleveland, Toronto, Washington and Pittsburgh. All four clubs have been struggling as part of rebuilding phases; this year the rebuilding paid off for all four.
Losers: the Los Angeles Dodgers with their well-documented problems in the front office; Tampa Bay, showing that a team can take a hit at the current ballpark while crusading for a new ballpark; and the Houston Astros, showing that a 100-loss team will struggle to attract fans.
Remember: this is reported attendance, not actual attendance. There's a separate set of books tracking the actual turnstile counts.
RELATED STORIES: 2011 Baseball Attendance by Average; 2011 Affiliated Attendance by Average; 2011 Affiliated Attendance by League; 2011 Affiliated Attendance by Total; 2011 Independent Attendance by Average; 2011 Independent Attendance by Total; 2011 Independent Average Attendance by League; 2011 Summer-Collegiate Attendance by Average; 2011 Summer-Collegiate Attendance by Total; 2011 Summer-Collegiate Attendance by League
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