Eric Fisher of Sports Business Journal reports that, based on earlyreturns, Major League Baseball is poised to end a three-year slide in ticket sales:
Commissioner Bud Selig declined to project a specific attendance increase for the season. But after drawing 73.06 million fans in 2010, down 0.4 percent from 2009, this year’s total will likely fall somewhere between 75 million and 78 million, an increase of 3 percent to 7 percent.
Selig has established 80 million as a goal since finishing roughly 500,000 people short of the mark in a record-setting 2007, but that level appears at least another year away.
“I’m really bullish on this season. We’ve got some great empirical data coming in,” Selig said. “I want to see a nice increase this year, and I’m very hopeful, very optimistic and confident that we’re going to do it. It should be a big, big year.”
Owners who claim that they will raise payroll if and only if ticket sales increase could not be reached for comment.