There is a perception held by some sports fans that Major League Baseball is a dying league and that baseball is a dying sport in the United States.
Not so fast.
Business Insider reported back in August that overall MLB attendance is up from 2013. According to that same report, 18 of the 30 teams in the league are seeing better attendance figures than they did a year ago. The team with the highest attendance increase of the past year, the Seattle Mariners, does not crack the top ten of overall average league attendances.
Also interesting is that this list begins with a club that is drawing fewer fans for home games than it did a year ago.
Stats are accurate as of the morning of September 12. Attendance numbers courtesy of ESPN.
Here are the 10 highest Major League Baseball attendance averages of 2014.
10. Colorado Rockies — Average Attendance: 33,430
Colorado is the first shock of clubs to be in the top ten of Major League Baseball average attendances. The Rockies are tied for dead last in the National League West and in the NL as a whole. They are well out of playoff contention in the middle of September.
Fans who have attended Colorado home games have gotten their money’s worth more often than not. Their horrid overall record aside, the Rockies are 39-35 at home. They have averaged over 33,000 for home games in four of the past five seasons.
9. Texas Rangers — Average Attendance: 33,952
The Rangers are even more of a surprise to make a list of top attendance averages than the Rockies. Texas has the worst overall record in Major League Baseball. No team has won fewer home contests this season than have the Rangers.
The bad news keeps on coming for the club. Manager Ron Washington surprisingly resigned earlier this month. It was later learned that Washington is being accused of sexual assault.
Washington has yet to speak publicly about that matter.
8. Milwaukee Brewers — Average Attendance: 34,182
Milwaukee has hardly been a successful franchise over the years. The club has never won a World Series. Milwaukee last won the National League Central in 2011, and that team lost in the NL Championship Series.
Yet, the Brewers consistently draw good crowds.
It’s not all rainbows and sunshine for the Brewers. The franchise hasn’t had a total attendance of over 3 million fans since that 2011 playoff campaign. Milwaukee holds the second-worst home record in the division (39-36).
The Brewers playing meaningful games in September, something that will happen this month, should bolster their attendance numbers.
7. Detroit Tigers — Average Attendance: 35,914
The Tigers play home games in Comerica Park, which is a relatively new venue. Detroit has been the American League Central “Team of the Decade.” That feat is especially impressive considering that both the Kansas City Royals and Cleveland Indians have evolved into playoff contenders.
The Tigers are tied for second in the division in home records (38-33). Detroit has won the division in each of the past three years. Those running the organization have built a roster deserving of being in the top ten of MLB home attendance average.
6. Boston Red Sox — Average Attendance: 36,487
It’s been a year to forget for the Red Sox. Boston is far and away the worst team in the American League East. The Red Sox, to date, have notched 31 home victories. Only three clubs have fewer home victories in 2014.
Boston’s loyal fans could have several reasons to attend future home contests. Some have suggested that the Red Sox were the big winners of the 2014 trade deadline. Regardless of results, expect that Boston will again be in the top-ten in home attendance next year and for years to come.
Fenway Park is a special place to visit.
5. Los Angeles Angels — Average Attendance: 38,558
The first California club and the final franchise featured in this piece to average under 40,000 fans in attendance for home games is a team that shouldn’t struggle to draw crowds. Los Angeles has thus far gone 47-24 in contests that have taken place at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. That is the best home record of 2014 for Major League teams.
The Angels aren’t just great at holding serve at home. They have gone 44-31 in road games. Los Angeles was, as of the posting of this piece, the best team in pro baseball and the only club to have won over 60 percent (62.3) of its total games.
4. San Francisco Giants — Average Attendance: 41,595
AT&T Park, home of the Giants, seats a capacity of 41,915. San Francisco draws an average of 99.2 percent of that capacity for home games, the highest average in Major League Baseball. 2014 isn’t a one-off for the club. The Giants have totaled over 3 million total fans in attendance for home games every season over the past five years.
AT&T Park is commonly regarded as one of the most beautiful and scenic ballparks in the league. The Giants have also rewarded the team’s fan base with winning play. San Francisco holds the best home record in the National League West.
3. New York Yankees — Average Attendance: 42,477
New York sports fans are notoriously bandwagon jumpers. That’s what happens when you live in a region that has over a dozen (all levels included) professional sports teams, and also when you are in or close to the busiest city in the United States.
Why waste time on a losing baseball team on a nice summer day when you can “go down the shore” or head to the Hamptons, right?
While the attendance number seems high when compared to others on this list, it’s not all good news for the Yankees. The team averaged over 50,000 in attendance for home games every year from 2005 through 2008. New York hasn’t since flirted with having an average attendance of 50k for home games.
2. St. Louis Cardinals — Average Attendance: 43,535
People who live in and around St. Louis will tell you that it is the top baseball city in America. Only the San Francisco Giants fill a higher percentage of the team’s home venue than do the Cardinals. St. Louis currently has the second-best home record (tied with the Pittsburgh Pirates) in the National League.
The Cardinals routinely bring out loads of individuals for home games. They have averaged over three million total fans for home games every season since 2004. St. Louis has averaged over 40,000 fans per home game in nine of the past ten years.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers — Average Attendance: 46,506
The Dodgers somewhat curiously do not make the most of what should, on paper, be the best home-field advantage in the Major Leagues. Los Angeles has a massive lead in the MLB attendance competition, roughly 2,000 head of St. Louis in average. The Dodgers lead the Cardinals by over 300,000 in total attendance.
Despite those high numbers, the Dodgers are not responsible for the best home record in their own division let alone in the league. Seven National League teams have better home records than Los Angeles.
Dodgers fans who do attend home games have little to complain about. They get to see superstar pitcher Clayton Kershaw perform his magic multiple times a year, and they have the luxury of cheering on a true World Series contender.