Major League Baseball’s War on Time: An Analysis of Game Times’ Impact on Attendance Using the Theory of Leisure Constraints


  • Mark Davis Troy University
  • John Miller University of Southern Mississippi


Leisure constraints, pace-of-play, MLB attendance


Acquiring an understanding of which constraint most impacts a fan’s ability to attend MLB games is essential. Sports organizations and marketing firms can potentially help consumers negotiate structural constraints through strategic planning (Trail, Robinson, & Kim, 2008).  For Major League Baseball (MLB) organizations and sports marketers to form a strategic plan, they must gain knowledge of how well consumers alleviate time constraints. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine if the average game length of MLB games constrained fan’s willingness to attend MLB games. To accomplish the purpose of the study, the researchers evaluated the 1962 to 2018 seasons. Utilizing the Pearson’s correlation coefficient generated from a simple linear regression analysis, the results indicated that with every average minute of game length, the attendance increased. These results were contradictory to research previously performed in the strength and direction of the relationship (Hinch et al., 2005; Koo et al., 2017). The researchers further evaluated this timeframe by dividing the seasons by the expansion time frames. The expansions occurred in 1962 to 20 teams, 1969 to 24 teams, 1977 to 26 teams, 1993 to 28 teams, and 1998 to 30 teams. The results of the simple linear regression analyses revealed game length did not have a significant impact on attendance. Thus, it appears that aspects other than the length of an MLB game are contributing to the attendance decline.


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