Is America’s pastime really past time? 2014’s MLB AD.tendance (ADtn) was its smallest since 2011. Nonetheless, MLB crushed TV’s prime time programming this past season. In short 11 of MLB’s 30 teams had the “highest rated, most watched” local programming in prime time (both broadcast & cable). While DET & PIT’s ratings decreased, their #s were still ROBUST as the Tigers were #1 with 8.59 HH Rtg on Fox Sports Det, followed by PIT’s #2 overall HH Rtg.




While the SR Circuit outdrew the AL by almost 4,800 fans in total, it LOST more fans (-187,430) than did the Jr Circuit (-99,843). T-1 explains all with a total LOSS of 287,273 fans (-0.4% vs 2013) during 2014. (The US Stat Abstract lists Toledo’s 2010 pop as 285,000). Stated differently, Home ADtn was down 118.2 fans per game, per home team.


2014 34,491,145 39,248,477 73,739,622
2013 34,590,988 39,435,907 74,026,895
(-99,843) (-187,430) (-287,273)


SEA’s increase at the “box office” (see below) is easy to explain. After a decade of mediocrity, the Mariners became relevant again with stars Robinson Cano & King Felix Hernández leading the way. MLW’s story may even be better; The Brewers are in MLB’s smallest market. They led the NL Central for most of the season b-4 Bernie Brewer gave his stein to STL’s Busch leaguers. KCR’s stretch run to the last AL Wild Card this yr has already become legendary. STL is Baseball Town, USA; The NYY’s are the most succe$$ful pro sport franchise in NAmerica with or w/o Derek Jeter’s “last dance”.


For MLB’s Biggest Losers suffice it to say that nobody likes a loser (except Cubs’ fans) and PHL, TX, MN & ATL all had losing records. As for TOR, Canada is “hockey country” and the Js ONLY won 4 more games than they lost in 2014. RTHEREANYQUESTIONS?


     The Biggest Gainers were:        The Biggest Losers were:
  • SEA
+ 3,738 per game  
  • PHL
– 7,266 per game
  • MLW
+ 3,287 per game  
  • TX
– 5,195 per game
  • KCR
+ 2,540 per game  
  • MN
– 2,803 per game
  • STL
+ 2,109 per game  
  • ATL
– 2,400 per game
  • NYY
+ 2,032 per game  
  • TOR
– 1,988 per game


Congrats to the 5 MLB teams that drew 3M fans or better. Rats to the 6 teams that didn’t even draw 2M fans


Congrats Rats
  • LAD
3.782 M  
  • TB
1.446 M
  • STL
3.541 M  
  • CLV
1.427 M
  • NYY
3.402 M  
  • CHS
1.651 M
  • SF
3.369 M  
  • MN
1.732 M
  • LAA
3.096 M  
  • HST
1.752 M
  • KC
1.956 M




Further ADtn highlights include:


  • There were 5 teams each from the AL & NL in MLB’s TOP 10 Home ADtn teams.
  • There were 7 teams from the AL & 3 from the NL in MLB’s BTTM 10 of Home ADtn.
  • There are 5 MLB METRO AREAS with both AL & NL franchises in them (BLM/WSH, CHI, LA, NY & OAK/SF). In each instance the NL team out AD-tendanced the AL


The Best/Worst Home ADtn stories are very easy.  LAD, LAA & NYY need no further explanation.  The LAD vs. SF rivalry was transplanted from NY. It always helps explain SF’s strong Home ADtn.  Then, there are the facts that SF has won 2 of the last 5 WS and they are a WC team this yr.  As for STL, we’ll say it again; STL is the ultimate “baseball town”.


Best Home ADtn   Worst Home ADtn
#1 LAD 46,695   #30 TB 17,657
#2 STL 43,711   #29 CLV 18,428
#3 NYY 42,520   #28 CHS 20,896
#4 SF 41,588   #27 MIA 21,396
#5 LAA 38,221   #26 HST 21,627


The composite picture is that for whatever reason the NL continues to out ADtendance the AL.  Some have guessed that it’s b/c the NL plays “old fashion” besból with NO DH.  Others have claimed that the NL has a better draw of cities/metro areas, etc.  We say??? The DATA are the DATA are the DATA are the DATA!


ROAD AD-TENDANCE (i.e., Most/Least Popular Teams)


  • 8 NL teams in MLB’s TOP 10 Road ADtn teams
  • 7 NL teams in MLB’s BTTM 10 Road ADtn teams


The ADtendance analysis that always gives us the greatest joy is Road ADtn.  We view this ADtn as popularity ADtn.  There is no problem in understanding this yr’s Most & Least lists.  The NYY were on the Derek Jeter tour all yr.  The LAD had the Kershaw, Puig and the Best NL team factors; The Pirates had the NL’s MVP and another run at the Playoffs from 1 of MLB’s most beleaguered and smallest metros (5th smallest market); SF’s popularity has already been explained under our Home ADtn analysis. It stands good for Road ADtn, also.  Finally there are those “loveable losers”, the Chi Flubs.  There are many transplanted Chicagoans throughout the US and the Cubs ARE truly America’s Team.  (A friend of mine recently remarked “How would you like to be a fan of team with a 100yr+ rebuilding plan? I AM Greg, I AM!)


As for the Least Popular; 4 of the 5 having losing records with SEA hardly being a “baseball town”.  Everything STL is to baseball, SEA is NOT!  The Seahawks are SEA’s sports team! As for the KC Royals what can you say?  NO HIT, barely made the Playoffs with their best branded player having retired 20 yrs ago. George Brett is now KC’s VP of Baseball Operations.  (Remember, the Miami Dolphins who went undefeated in 1972?  Their defense was called the “No Name Defense!”  The Royals should be called the No Name Team!  All they do is WIN, WIN & WIN!). KCR is not only the team that nobody knew about but apparently the team that nobody wanted to see!


MLB’s Most Popular   MLB’s Least Popular
1 NYY 35,512   1 KCR 26,872
2 LAD 33,830   2 MN 26,943
3 PIT 33,316   3 TX 27,155
4 CHC 32,096   4 HST 27,191
5 SF 32,936   5 SEA 28,158




  • As previously noted, 5 were AL Teams (NYY, LAA, BST, DET & TX) AND 5 were NL teams (LAD, STL, SF, MLW & COL)
  • 5 were Playoff Teams (LAD, STL, SF, LAA & DET)
  • 4 were also TOP 10 Road ADtendance Teams (NYY, LAD, SF & MLW)
  • 4 were in MLB’s 10 Biggest Metros (LAD, NYY, LAA & TX [DLS])
  • 4 were in ForbesTOP 10Best Valued” Teams (LAD #2; SF #5; STL #8; & LAA #10)
  • 3 had TOP 10 Team Payrolls (LAD #1, DET #6 & SF #8)

About bernacmd

For over 24 years, University of Detroit Mercy Marketing Professor Michael Bernacchi, Ph.D., J.D, has produced "uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE", a newsletter discussing current "marketing and advertising¹s bends, trends & ends." A well-know fixture in Detroit and national media, UDM's marketing guru has made several appearances on CNN's "Talk Back Live," the Voice of America worldwide radio network (VOA), ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and on the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, TV Guide, the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, to name a few. At University of Detroit Mercy, he has taught courses in Marketing Management, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Communications, Research and Corporate Social Responsibility and Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Michael Bernacchi can be reached at 313-993-1116 or Please appropriately attribute the following for their work on uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE: Yen Ju Lee Robert Rouse Vidhyasagar Natarajan Eric Baumgardner & Ian Young
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