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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

MLB shatters attendance record

By Jason Beck / MLB.com
Eight teams set franchise records, and 15 reported increases

For the fourth consecutive year, Major League Baseball has set a single-season attendance record, drawing nearly 80 million fans to games during the regular season.

The Commissioner's Office on Tuesday announced a final attendance tally of 79,502,524, a 4.5 percent increase over last year. The previous mark of 76,042,787 was broken with one week to go in the regular season, before pennant races and home finales pushed the total even higher.

Eight teams set franchise attendance records in 2007, and 15 others reported increases over last year. Ten teams drew more than three million fans, with the Detroit Tigers doing so for the first time in the franchise's 107-year history.

"The immensity of this record is staggering," Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement, "and it serves as a perfect illustration of the passion and excitement for the game that exists across the Major League Baseball landscape. Our sport has reached heights that were unimaginable only a few years ago. By any measure, this is truly a golden age for Major League Baseball. I thank fans everywhere, and I share their enthusiasm for another memorable October."

Not only did baseball set a single-day attendance record -- with 717,478 total fans at games on July 28 -- but five of the top 15 single-day marks occurred this summer. Nearly 27 million tickets for the season were sold online at MLB.com, also establishing a single-season record.

The Tigers' mark was one of several set in the Midwest. The defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals sold out all 81 home games at the new Busch Stadium on their way to a record attendance total of 3,552,180. Cubs fans packed Wrigley Field again to watch their team rise to the National League Central Division title, drawing a record 3,252,462 in the process. Their chief division challenger, the Milwaukee Brewers, averaged more than 35,000 fans per game en route to a club-record 2,869,144.

Meanwhile, the stalwarts on the East Coast set their respective marks, too. The New York Yankees established a new American League record by drawing 4,271,083, an average of 52,729 per game, to Yankee Stadium. The Red Sox stretched their consecutive sellout streak to 388 straight games en route to receiving 2,970,755 fans at Fenway Park. The Mets' attendance of 3,853,937 was also a franchise record.

On the opposite coast, the Los Angeles Dodgers topped the National League for the fourth consecutive season with a franchise-record mark of 3,857,036, the highest total in the Senior Circuit since 1997. The Angels and San Francisco Giants also topped the 3 million mark, the Giants doing so for the eighth straight year.

In a statement, Major League Baseball credited the leaguewide popularity, in part, to competitive balance. No team finished the season with a winning percentage under .400 or above .600, and only the Red Sox and Indians topped the 95-win mark, each at 96-66.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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