Major League Baseball generated the largest attendance in a decade for its fan festival held in conjunction with the annual All-Star Game.
MLB’s Play Ball Park, renamed this year from its prior moniker of FanFest, garnered an attendance of 149,513 at the Huntington Convention Center in Cleveland, Ohio. The figure is up by 33 per cent from the 112,390 that the event drew last year in Washington, DC, and is the highest figure for the festival since the 2009 version in St. Louis, Missouri.
Play Ball Park, featuring a wide variety of baseball-themed attractions, games, and autograph signings with baseball legends, stands as a key component of MLB’s overall All-Star Game activities, offering fans an opportunity to engage with the event at far more approachable price points than the main stadium-based ticketed functions held this year at Progressive Field.
This year’s Play Ball Park was modified to include both indoor and outdoor components, with the outdoor elements free and the indoor ones costing as low as $5 per person. MLB also likely received an attendance boost when they cut pricing for the ticketed portion of Play Ball Park to $10 for the final three days of the five-day festival.
The robust attendance jump for Play Ball Park this year contrasts sharply against overall MLB game attendance that is down by 1.7 per cent at the All-Star break, and is all but certain to finish the 2019 season down for the sixth time in seven years.