There are similarities and differences between the current MLB lockout and the 1994 players’ strike.
However, the league should be able to remember the fact that there were some rough days in the aftermath of the strike back then.
There was definitely some backlash, most notably in average attendance.
According to an article by Forbes, per-game attendance decreased 20 percent in 1995.
That’s a sizable percentage: it took a while for fans to be drawn back to stadiums.
As a result, if a similar situation occurs in 2022 and the lockout extends, these three teams may be in danger of losing significant revenue, mainly because of a lack of fan support (something that can affect an MLB franchise beyond the sheer attendance numbers).
3. Miami Marlins
The Miami Marlins made the postseason in 2020, but it was with expanded playoffs and they were quickly knocked out.
If the lockout keeps carrying on and eats some, or most of the regular season, they may be in trouble.
Miami was the team with the lowest attendance in 2021, with 642,617 people in total and an average of just 7,933 spectators per game.
Those are really sad numbers.
If there is a similar effect in attendance after the lockout, like it happened in 1995, the Marlins could be in real trouble.
The worst part of all is that they do have an exciting, up-and-coming team with lots of great prospects and young players.
For the sake of their team and their future, let’s hope the lockout ends soon.
Mets would have preferred a getaway day game today in Miami. There was wonderment if the Marlins kept the game at night for attendance reasons – maybe they could draw 5,000 instead of 4,500.
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) September 9, 2021
2. Oakland Athletics
The Oakland Athletics, somewhat surprisingly, were the team with the second-worst attendance numbers in home games: 701,430 total fans and 8,767 on average, barely beating the Marlins.
We say “surprising” because they were competitive until late in the season, and they were actually buyers at the deadline.
It was a smart decision back then; it just didn’t work out.
To make matters worse, the A’s fan attendance is already set to worsen because the team will be entering a transition period in which they aren’t expected to compete in 2022.
There are reports saying that they could even entertain trade offers for some of their stars, namely Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Chris Bassitt, Frankie Montas, and Sean Manaea, in order to shed some salary.
A long lockout could only make things worse.
1. Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays are actually one of the most competitive teams in baseball.
However, fan attendance is disastrous.
They had the third-worst attendance in MLB last year: 761,072 total fans and 9,513 on average per game.
There has been talk about them moving out of Tampa eventually.
20220120: Mark Didtler AP: MLB rejects Tampa Bay Rays' plan to play portion of home games in Montreal ["Team owner Stuart Sternberg calls news 'flat-out deflating' https://t.co/c7c5TOlyPd
— John N. Davis (@johnndavis) January 21, 2022
If they couldn’t break the barrier of 10,000 fans per game at home with a 100-win team, it’s hard to see them improving much if there is a long lockout.
The same Forbes article reported that the game, back then in the mid-1990s in the post-strike days, was saved by the stars.
The Rays have plenty of stars, most notably shortstop Wander Franco.
However, there is no doubt that an extended absence of baseball would certainly hurt them.