If it seemed like more fans were at MLB games this season, that's because they were — in historic numbers.
The league announced that 70.7 million fans paid to attend games in 2023, which marked a 9.6% increase over the 64.5 million that visited ballparks last season. This was the first time since 2017 that attendance reached 70 million and 11 weekends brought 1.5 million or more fans.
Seventeen teams reported more than 2.5 million visitors, while 24 ballclubs said they had more than three million fans in attendance. Such a feat hasn't happened in a decade, MLB said.
Average per-game attendance was 29,295. In its report, the league said the 9.1% increase in average attendance was the "highest percentage growth in 30 years ... dating back to the 1993 expansion to 28 Clubs."
Live attendance wasn't the only way fans broke records watching games this season. In the same release, the league said MLB.TV recorded its most-streamed season in its 21 years of operation.
There was a 14% increase in users watching, and not only did fans see more games (17%), but also the percentage of games watched in their entirety went up by 17%. All of this resulted in a historic 12.7 billion minutes watched, which marked a 9% boost over the 11.7 billion in 2022.
What prompted this stark increase? MLB believes it has to do with the litany of changes made to enhance the game experience. Pitch clocks were enacted to help shorten games; defensive shifts were limited, which made games more offensive affairs; and players were encouraged to utilize their athleticism to make play more exciting.
It also didn't hurt that there were several close division and wild-card races down the stretch to keep fans tuned in. The wild-card round begins Tuesday with four games, starting with the Texas Rangers visiting the Tampa Bay Rays.