MLB 2023 attendance firing on all cylinders



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MLB sets attendance record in 2023 Image: Coliseum GSVA

The average Major League Baseball (MLB) time of game is way down in 2023 – and attendance is way up.

‘Major League Baseball’ stated that recently, the Major League Baseball (MLB) released its game times and attendance numbers for the 2023 regular season – with its new rules aimed at increasing the action on the field and generating a faster pace of play – and the results are striking.

New York (US)-based the Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization. One of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada, the MLB comprises 30 teams, divided equally between the National League (NL) and the American League (AL), with 29 in the United States and 1 in Canada.

‘Major League Baseball’ further stated that the average time of a nine-inning MLB game in 2023 was just under two hours and 40 minutes, the league’s fastest time of game in nearly 40 years.

And MLB finished the regular season with a total attendance of 70,747,365. It’s the first time MLB’s paid attendance has broken the 70 million mark since 2017.

Here’s a look at MLB’s game times and attendance for the 2023 season.
 

Time of Game

Games were 24 minutes shorter in 2023 than they were in 2022, when the average time of the game was three hours and four minutes. And games were a full 30 minutes shorter than they were in 2021, when the average time of a game was over three hours and 10 minutes.

The average MLB game time also dropped under three hours for the first time since 2015 – and not just under three hours, but well under three hours.
 

MLB Average Time of Game by Season

 

Nine-inning Games Only

  • 2015 – 2:56:14
  • 2016 – 3:00:42
  • 2017 – 3:05:11
  • 2018 – 3:00:44
  • 2019 – 3:05:35
  • 2020 – 3:07:46
  • 2021 – 3:10:07
  • 2022 – 3:03:44
  • 2023 – 2:39:49

 
The average nine-inning MLB game was the shortest it’s been in 38 years since 1985 (2:40). And the last time the average game was faster than in 2023 was in 1984 (2:35).

Only nine games this season lasted three-and-a-half hours or longer. Just two years ago, there were 390 games that lasted three-and-a-half hours or longer, the most in a season in MLB history.

Along with faster games came more scoring and action. Runs scored and stolen bases, for example, both jumped in 2023.
 

Increased Action in 2023

  • Runs per game: 8.6 in 2022, 9.2 in 2023
  • SB attempts per game: 1.4 in 2022, 1.8 in 2023
  • SB per game: 1.0 in 2022, 1.4 in 2023
  • SB success rate: 75.4 percent in 2022, 80.2 percent in 2023 (all-time best)

 
A stolen base, often abbreviated as SB, occurs when a baserunner advances to the next base without the ball having been hit into play or a fielding error. The stolen bases are awarded at the discretion of the official scorer.
 

Attendance

The increase in MLB’s total attendance in 2023 is the largest growth for a non-COVID-impacted year since the league expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The total attendance of 70,747,365 in 2023 was a gain of over six million fans from 2022, when the total attendance was 64,556,658. That’s a 9.6 percent increase in total attendance for the MLB games.
 

MLB Total Attendance by Season

 

Non-COVID-impacted Seasons

  • 2017 – 72,678,797
  • 2018 – 69,671,272
  • 2019 – 68,506,896
  • 2022 – 64,556,658
  • 2023 – 70,747,365

 
And the growth in fans per game was just as significant. The MLB attendance per game in 2023 was 29,295, compared to 26,843 per game in 2022.

That 9.1 percent increase in per-game attendance was the largest in 30 years, going all the way back to MLB’s expansion to 28 teams in 1993 (again, not counting COVID-impacted seasons).

The 2023 season included 17 teams recording an attendance of over 2.5 million, tied for the most in a season in MLB history. The Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Houston Astros, and Toronto Blue Jays all drew over three million fans – the first time in 10 years that eight clubs broke the three million mark for season attendance.

The attendance gains across the Major Leagues were highlighted by 11 weekends that drew more than 1.5 million fans in attendance, the most for a season since 2017. There were only five such weekends across the previous four full seasons combined (2018, 2019, 2021, and 2022).

In total, 26 of the 30 MLB teams, more than 86 percent of the league, saw their attendance increase from 2022 to 2023.

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