Despite attendance numbers dwindling dramatically for the New York Yankees, there’s still a chance for them to make baseball great again.Major League Baseball has gone through ups and downs since the inception of the first professional team back in 1869. The sport has been deemed “America’s pastime” and has stood the test of time for an unprecedented number of years.
In recent years, however, game attendance for MLB teams has declined dramatically. More importantly, it has tanked for the New York Yankees, one of the greatest franchises in the history of the game.
Ever since 2009, the Yankees have seen a steady decline in their attendance, despite remaining at the top of the attendance standings. From 2014 to 2015, the Yankees saw the biggest drop in attendance in over 15 years, with over 200,000 fewer fans dropping by during the season.
Last season, the 27-time world champions averaged 37,820 fans per home game, while compiling a total of 3,0653,405 through their 81 games at home. This ranked fourth in the MLB, but still a -130,390 difference from 2015’s home attendance.
On the road, it is even worse. During the time of “The Dynasty” in the late 1990s, the Yankees were a team people traveled all over to see. In 2016, away attendance at Yankee games averaged 30,940 per game; this was ranked 12th in the MLB.
So what has happened? And what can we do to fix it?
Kids, the sad story is that baseball is on the decline. These days, children are growing up and gravitating towards other, faster-paced sports. Football viewership is absolutely killing baseball viewership because the millennials want to see action.
They don’t want to wait around for their action. They want it now.
It also has to do with the slump the Yankees are in. In the 1990s, they would win continuously. Recently, they just aren’t getting it done, or even making it to the playoffs.
The last World Series championship they claimed was in 2009 and it’s no surprise that since then, attendance has been declining with each playoff-less season.
In the attendance rankings, the Yankees were in the top two for the majority of the late ’90s and 2000’s. Only in 2013 did they slip down to fourth and eventually to seventh last season.
Fans want to go see a winning team, not a team that is in third, fourth or even fifth place. If the team isn’t winning regularly, there’s a chance fans aren’t making an appearance at the stadium.
It could potentially be about ticket prices. The outrageously pricey tickets and the mortgage that’s necessary for a hot dog have turned fans off from going to the ballpark in lieu of being able to watch their team play in the comforts of their own home.
There are several factors that are keeping fans from coming to the ballpark. But how can the Yankees get them back to boost their attendance once again?
While baseball is a business, lowering ticket prices and making games more accessible to go to will urge more fans to get out and enjoy the ballpark in person.
The Yankees have already started to do something to prompt another playoff season by bringing in a young, exciting team.
With marketable, youthful players in Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge, the Yankees are drawing glances from fans that may have stopped paying attention when the Yankees began their skid.
There’s a good chance these (and more) young studs will garner more interest to a mediocre Yankees squad.
No, baseball will never compete with the likes of football because let’s face it, they are not the same. While football boasts more hard-hitting action, baseball thrives on patience and suspense.
Every pitch has the opportunity to change the course of the game. Every hit has the ability to spark a seemingly-impossible rally. Every play has the chance to become a part of history. Baseball deserves to be something special in the eyes of sports fans.
There’s nothing like being at the Stadium first-hand.
The scent of ballpark franks being grilled. The cheers of the Bleacher Creatures during Role Call. The anticipation of a two-strike count. The imminent playing of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” after a victory. It’s all there for fans, so why won’t they take advantage of it?
While fans may be gravitating towards excitement and intrigue in sports like football and ice hockey, there is nothing more classic than America’s pastime.
Will attendance skyrocket for the Yankees this season? Probably not, but there is room for improvement to get fans back out. True fans will show you, baseball is a sport that is far from dead, no matter what the attendance numbers say.