More than a third of Major League Baseball teams have seen a drop in attendance this season, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reports.
Twelve out of 30 clubs are drawing fewer fans this March and April compared to the same period in 2018, according to Lacques. Seven of those teams have seen attendance fall by double-digit percentages, including the Toronto Blue Jays' league-leading decline of 25 percent.
The Blue Jays have seen their average attendance fall from 27,142 fans to 20,451, while the second-worst drop-off belongs to the Minnesota Twins at 18 percent (21,072 to 17,379). The San Francisco Giants, Miami Marlins, and Kansas City Royals round out the top five in percentage declines.
Even one of the league's hottest teams to start the season, the Tampa Bay Rays, have reportedly drawn less than 10,000 fans in six out of their 16 home games.
MLB saw an overall four percent decrease in attendance in 2018, though commissioner Rob Manfred largely blamed inclement weather in the early part of the season for the dip. But there have only been 13 postponements this year compared to 28 at this time in 2018, which may suggest that the declines will linger, Lacques notes.
However, one team is thriving amid the league-wide struggles. The Philadelphia Phillies have seen the biggest increase in attendance in the majors, drawing an average of 37,280 fans compared to 25,811 at this point in 2018, an increase of 44 percent. The club shelled out hundreds of millions of dollars in the offseason, with the likes of Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen inking long-term deals via free agency.