Baseball Draws 74.9 Million Fans in 2012, Highest in Four Years

Major League Baseball, bolstered by a new playoff format that includes two more teams, had its highest attendance in four years and the fifth-most ever in the 2012 season.

Baseball’s 30 teams drew 74.9 million fans during the 2012 regular season, according to an e-mailed release. That’s a 2 percent increase over last season’s total, and the most since the league drew 78.6 million in 2008. The league record is 79.5 million, set in 2007.

The sport benefited from a new postseason structure, which added a second wild-card playoff team in each league and kept more clubs in contention for a postseason spot later in the season, Commissioner Bud Selig said today in a statement. Three playoff spots and four division titles remained up for grabs heading into the season’s final three days.

“This was a year of great races down to the wire, outstanding competitive balance, compelling success stories, Miguel Cabrera’s historic Triple Crown, exciting rookies, and record numbers of perfect games and no-hitters,” Selig said. “The enthusiasm for our sport has never been higher.”

Cabrera, of the Detroit Tigers, won baseball’s first Triple Crown since 1967. The league had seven no-hitters or perfect games, and this season marked the rookie campaigns for All-Stars Mike Trout, 21, and Bryce Harper, 19.

For the second consecutive year the Philadelphia Phillies led all clubs in attendance, with 3.57 million, followed by the New York Yankees at 3.54 million and the Texas Rangers, who set a franchise record with 3.46 million, according to the release. Nine clubs drew more than three million fans, including the San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Angels, Boston Red Sox and Tigers.

The New York Mets, who were 28-48 after the All-Star break and finished 14 games behind the Washington Nationals in the NL East division, drew 2.24 million. It is their lowest total since 2003, according to ESPN.

-- Editor: Michael Sillup

To contact the reporter on this story: Eben Novy-Williams in New York at enovywilliam@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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