MLB pulls in 45.3 million fans during pandemic-hit season

Major League Baseball has revealed that its total combined attendance for the COVID-19-affected 2021 season was 45.3 million, with the Los Angeles Dodgers once again leading the way with an average crowd of 34,626.

A total of 45,304,709 fans attended regular-season MLB games this year – despite teams playing at limited capacities for more than a third of the season. The aggregate attendance figure for 2019, the most recent season that was not affected by the pandemic, was 68.5 million.

The Dodgers attracted an aggregate attendance of 2,804,693, extending its eight-year run as best-supported MLB team. The Texas Rangers’ first season with fans at Globe Life Field saw the team attract 2,110,258 fans for an average of 26,053 per game.

In June, the Dodgers claimed what was then the largest crowd for a professional sports team in the US since the outbreak of the pandemic as 52,078 fans attended the team’s defeat against the Philadelphia Phillies at Dodger Stadium (pictured).

The MLB season got underway on April 1. The Rangers were the only club that opened the season in front of a capacity crowd, with the decision drawing criticism from US President Joe Biden.

The move, which Biden said was “a mistake”, was made possible after Texas Governor Greg Abbott said that businesses in the state could operate at full capacity. The next highest capacity limit at the start of the season was 50% although several US teams eventually opened their stadiums without restrictions.

After the Dodgers, the Atlanta Braves drew the second highest total attendance with 2,300,247 or an average of 29,490 per game. The San Diego Padres, Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals made up the top five, while the Miami Marlins had the lowest total attendance at 642,617.

No fans attended regular-season games at all in 2020, although a small number were permitted for post-season fixtures at Globe Life Field.

Image: Megan Ellis on Unsplash