This project is a study which examines how attendance levels in Major League Baseball stadiums have been impacted by the current recession in the United States which began in October 2007. Research on attendance during past recessions has shown a strong relationship that during downtrends in the economy, baseball attendance levels generally do not suffer. Using an ordinary least squares regression, independent variables including; percent change in ticket price from previous season, distance to closest competitor, percent change in ticket price of the closest competitor, winning percentage during previous year, winning percentage during current year, unemployment rate during current year, per capita income during current year, and a dummy variable were run against the dependent variable of season attendance totals for 29 of the 30 MLB teams (Those located within the US). The data used is from the years 2008 and 2009, the first and second years of the current recession. Results were analyzed to find if there were any relationships that proved to be significant, with a t-Stat score > 2 or a P-value < .10. The variables of team’s current year winning percentage and presence of a new stadium are the only variables that prove to be significant during both seasons, with a positive correlation for both years. Unemployment becomes significant during the 2009 season, and also changes from being negatively correlated to positively correlated with attendance levels from one year to the next. Overall, the league as a whole had a drop in attendance of 1.09% and 6.59% during the 2008 and 2009 seasons, which were the first and second seasons following the start of the recession. Based on the trend of attendance during past recessions, one would expect that for the upcoming year attendance numbers would jump back up to their 2007 levels. However, due to the length and severity of the recent recession, as well as the growing amount of substitutes available, attendance may suffer more and for longer than it ever has before.
Recommended CitationMcDonnell, Mark, "Major League Baseball: America’s Recession-Proof Pastime" (2010). Honors Projects in Finance. Paper 11.