In a bad economy, superfluous expenditures — such as baseball tickets — often suffer. As the U.S. economy tries to right its floundering ship, baseball officials are predicting a six percent decline in attendance for the upcoming 2009 season. Officials see a lot of enthusiasm surrounding the game, and WBC ticket sales shattered the 2006 numbers. Baseball’s leaders are also counting on new stadiums from the Mets and Yankees to stave off a steeper decline. There is, of course, a rub.
Last year at Shea Stadium, the Mets averaged just over 51,000 fans a game. This year, they’re playing in CitiField, a ballpark with a capacity of just 42,000. Even if they sell out every game — and early indications are that they will not — the Mets alone will be responsible for a one percent dip in baseball attendance. Who decided that building such a small stadium in New York City was a good idea anyway?