Major League Baseball had a spectacular 2023 regular season. On Monday, the MLB released its game time and attendance numbers for the season. The results — which were first posted on MLB.com — were jaw-dropping.
The average time of a nine-inning 2023 MLB regular season game was just under 2 hours and 40 minutes — the league's fastest in nearly 40 years. Games were 24 minutes shorter in 2023 than they were in 2022, and were a full 30 minutes shorter than they were in 2021. What's more, the average MLB game time dropped under 3 hours for the first time since 2015 — and was a full twenty minutes below the three-hour mark.
Considering the MLB's efforts to shorten game times in the past few years — which have led to league-wide rule changes like the 15-second pitch clock, limiting pitcher disengagement from the rubber, and decreased mound visits, to name a few — 2023's incredibly short game time proves that these changes, which received their fair share of criticism, worked just as they'd intended.
Fan attendance is also way up — proven by the MLB finishing the 2023 regular season with a total attendance of 70,747,365. This marks the first time MLB's attendance has broken 70 million since 2017, and is the largest growth for a non-COVID-impacted year since 1998.
Growth in fans per game was just as significant. MLB attendance per game in 2023 was 29,295, compared to 26,843 per game in 2022. For a one year span, that 9.1% increase (the largest in 30 years) is massive; further proof that the MLB is thriving right now.
Not only are MLB games getting shorter and drawing more spectators, but the game itself is becoming more action-packed. Per the Monday release, the MLB noted that Runs per game increased to 9.2 in 2023, compared to 8.6 in 2022; stolen base attempts per game were 1.8 in 2023 (up from 1.4 in 2022); and stolen base success rate went from 75,4% in 2022 to 80.2% in 2023 — which is the MLB's best stolen base rate of all time!
Now we have the 2023 MLB playoffs to look forward to; which feels like a victory lap, considering how successful the regular season was. Yet, with some of the game's biggest stars playing on the game's biggest stage, playoff attendance records are sure to skyrocket — as will excitement. So let's sit back, relax, and soak these 2023 playoffs in.
Yet, since games are going by so fast, we'll barely have time to get comfortable.
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