MLB attendance is down again, and rebuilding teams are getting hit hard

If two rebuilding teams play a baseball game and no one was there to watch, did the game actually happen?

The Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles put that to the test with a doubleheader Wednesday. If Game 1 was any indication, fans didn’t seem interested to watch two noncompetitive clubs go at it.

A similar thing could be said about the Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays. While the Rays actually have the best record in the American League, they typically don’t draw large crowds. Put them on the road against a struggling Royals roster, and you get a lot of empty seats.

Attendance has been an issue for Major League Baseball once again in 2019. After watching attendance drop by four percent in 2018, the early returns don’t look promising.

According to USA Today, 12 teams averaged fewer fans in March and April than they did compared to last season. The Toronto Blue Jays lead the way with a staggering 33 percent decrease.

The Blue Jays are far from the only rebuilding team to lose fans. The Miami Marlins, Minnesota Twins, Royals and San Francisco Giants have been the five biggest attendance losers thus far. Of that group, only the Twins went out and made significant additions in the offseason.

The Giants’ failure to draw fans is the most surprising, according to USA Today.

The most startling loss comes in San Francisco. The Giants have been almost perennial contenders and drew at least 3 million fans in 18 of 20 seasons at Oracle (neé Pacific Bell and AT&T) Park. Bound for their third straight losing season and with a concerted rebuilding effort at hand, the Giants are averaging 32,665 fans – down 17% from an average of 39,278 in March-April 2018.

It isn’t the weather either. As USA Today notes, there have been fewer postponements in 2019. The average temperature is also up compared to last season.

The one team trending in the right direction would be the Philadelphia Phillies. The team’s attendance is up 44 percent compared to last season. The Phillies went out and signed Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen in the offseason. They also acquired J.T. Realmuto and Jean Segura in trades.

In the case of both the Royals and White Sox, there are some legitimate reasons the teams failed to draw Wednesday. Both games were rescheduled due to postponements.

The Royals mentioned that when they gave out attendance figures for the day.

Both early games also took place during the afternoon on a weekday. People were at work and young fans were in school.

Even if you can slightly discount the low attendance figures from those games Wednesday, the rest of the season can’t be ignored. The fans have made their opinions clear: If a team isn’t going to spend, the fans won’t either.

Considering how many teams decided to tear everything down this winter, attendance is unlikely to drastically improve any time soon.

Jose Abreu White Sox.
A sparse crowd watching Jose Abreu hit. (Getty Images)


Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

More from Yahoo Sports: