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Report: MLB Attendance May Decline For A Fourth Year

Empty seats at Wrigley Field

Empty seats are seen as the Chicago Cubs take on the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field on April 6, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Getty Images, by Jonathan Daniel)

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NEW YORK (CBS) — Major League Baseball is likely to mark its fourth straight year of declining attendance when this year’s season ends, according to a published report.

Forbes’ Tom Van Riper reported Wednesday that early in the season, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig told Sports Illustrated the attendance would actually rise in 2011.

While that could still happen – with many teams on pace to beat 2010 attendance by a fraction of a percentage point – the dull playoff races this season are standing in the way.

Van Riper says the “only good race” is between the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers in the American League West. While the San Francisco Giants could make a run, Van Riper says there “isn’t much room for improvement” in attendance at AT&T Park, and even if the Tampa Bay Rays clinch a wild card berth, “no one attends Rays games anyway.”

Yahoo Sports reported Wednesday that the second wild card berth being pushed by Selig would likely make the playoff races more interesting.

But as for now, even if attendance drops again, MLB saw an all-time attendance record in 2007 before the “modest” declines began, Van Riper emphasized.