The average attendance at home games for Major League Baseball teams this year is about 30,000. For the leader in attendance, the LA Dodgers, the figure is over 47,000. One team, however, has drawn well below 10,000 per game so far in 2019.
Home attendance for the Miami Marlins has been 9,545 through 25 games. About 15% of the season has gone by based on games played. It is hard to argue Miami will move up in the rankings. The Tampa Bay Rays are next up the ladder with a home attendance average of 14,450.
Market size, based on the number of people who live in each city, is almost certainly not to blame. Miami is the 7th largest metropolitan statistical area in the U.S. with a population of almost 6.2 million. Several cities at the top of the MLB home game attendance list are in much smaller markets. St. Louis ranks second by home attendance, at 41,449. Its MSA ranks 20th in the country with a population of 2.8 million. Milwaukee is 7th in home attendance with an average of 33,079. The Milwaukee MSA ranks 39th in the U.S. with a population less than 1.6 million.
Team performance may be one reason for Miami’s low attendance, but it is not the only cause. Miami ranks last in the National League East with a record of 12-31. However, the Tampa Bay Rays, the team with the second lowest team attendance per home game are in first place in the American League East with a record of 27-16. For further evidence, team performance is not the only cause, the St. Louis Cardinals have a record of 24-22 which puts them in next to the last place in the National League Central.
The Miami Marlins have one MLB trend in their favor. Team attendance has become a less and less important key to team financial performance according to NBC Sports. On that score, things may not be so bad. And, finally, Miami is not among the cities that have lost the most teams.