23 May 2006

Interleague Play Still Interesting after Ten Years

A decade ago, Major League Baseball was still struggling to regain its fan-base. The Great Strike of 1994-95 had devastated attendance across the board. As Yogi Berra once said, fans were "staying away in droves". Both leagues had enjoyed record attandance, both in terms of total fans and average fans per game, in 1993, and the pace was just as high or higher in 1994 when the doors were locked and the players walked out. Cal Ripken would break Lou Gehrig's 2130 consecutive games streak in 1996, but that hardly did anything for the other 27 teams' fortunes, not to mention those of the two expansion franchises who would begin play in 1998. None of the basebll owners could forsee the great home run record chase in 1998 by Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire either, so something had to be done.

Someone suggested interleague play. Regular season, official, non-exhibition games against teams in the other league? That's CRAZY talk!!

But it worked. Well, sort of.

MLB Average Attendance per Game
American Change National Change
1993 29,395 -- 32,553 --
1994 30,367 +3.3% 32,139 -1.1%
1995 25,108 -17% 24,936 -22%
1996 26,230 +4.5% 26,789 +7.4%
1997 27,635 +5.4% 28,118 +5.0%
1998 28,372 +2.7% 29,605 +5.3%

2005 29,339 +1.0% 32,108 +1.0%

Read the rest at Double Play Depth...

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: