BY ERIC AHLQVIST
For the second straight year, National Baseball Hall of Fame yearly attendance decreased, according to figures released by museum official Brad Horn. The final 2010 attendance total was 281,054, down from 289,818 in 2009.
Last year was the first time since 1997 the Hall failed to draw more than 300,000 visitors, and this year’s total fell below the ‘97 total of 284,708.
In 2008, the Hall drew 301,755 fans and in 2007, buoyed by the Induction of baseball legends Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn, the Hall drew more than 352,000.
“It’s a tough climate across the board for visitation in the tourism industry,’’ Horn said. “Our focus is to continue to give fans reasons to visit. We’re realists, and while we’re disppointed in the total attendance, we’re also thankful it’s not worse.’’
Horn said through its programming, the Hall will continue to try to give fans reasons to come back to the museum as well as try and draw new visitors to show them what the museum has to offer.
“I don’t think there’s any question that once they make the commitment to come here, they will enjoy their experience,’’ Horn said.
Horn said rather than decrease programming, the Hall is committed to increasing its programming in 2011.
Horn said the election of Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven to the Hall earlier this month is also reason for optimism. The pair will be inducted on July 24.