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Local News

March 7, 2013

Museum's attendance 'mirrors' economy

The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is open year-round, but the majority of business is done in the summer months when tourists flock to the village. 

The Hall of Fame has been facing gradual declines in attendance rates throughout the years. The nonprofit organization saw a drop of about 3,000 visitors from 2011 to 2012. Since 2001, attendance to the baseball mecca has fallen by 69,590 visitors. 

Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson said attendance has mirrored the economy. He said as the economy has down turned, cultural institutions, among many others, suffer equally.

“In this day and age, the state of the economy, gas prices and the viability of the region in which you exist are all important factors; as is the health of the sport. Thankfully the health of our sport today is strong, and that is a positive indicator moving forward,” Idelson said. 

According to Idelson, Induction Weekend does not have a massive impact on attendance numbers at the baseball shrine. However, he said a good Induction Weekend will certainly help give it a “little bit of boost.”

“We believe the programs we have in place are allowing our attendance to be as high as it is,” Idelson said. “We continually have an eye on adjusting our business model to ensure that we remain viable.”

For example, Idelson said looking for more strategic partners has helped maintain attendance. He said what has been added within the last five years or so is collaboration with local bed-and-breakfasts and hotels to package an experience as well as hosting sleepovers in the plaque gallery. 

Idelson said he believes the overall depth of programming is good and it helps that they run year-round.   

“We know a lot about each of the people who come to the Hall of Fame each year. When somebody purchases a ticket we can tell you if they are a member or not, if they purchased it through a discount program, what zip code they are from, so we rely heavily on demographic studies to further make decisions of what we are going to do,” Idelson said. 

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