MLB avoided the worst outcomes of losing regular-season games to the lockout, but the sport's overall attendance trends are still pointing downward.

While no games were lost, the lockout generated significant negative publicity. That's nothing new. Attendance has declined after every MLB work stoppage, including a 20% drop in 1995 after the strike. MLB didn't return to its pre-strike attendance levels until 2006. Labor disputes turn off fans.

Regardless of stoppages, though, there remains a gradual, continued decline in MLB attendance. After peaking at 79.4 million fans in 2007, attendance generally declined year over year to 68.5 million fans in 2019, the last full season before any pandemic-related issues. That's a 14% decline - nearly 11 million lost tickets.

While ticket prices, pace of play, inflation costs, COVID-19 fears, cheap owners, and other at-home entertainment options might all conspire to keep fans away, attendance slippage has been more pronounced in baseball than in other major North American sports.

Baseball might be dealing with some of the issues that caused early-season attendance declines in the NBA and NHL, but those sports haven't endured steady, longer-term drops like MLB over the last 15 years, according to Statista. The NFL, meanwhile, set an attendance record this past season, exceeding 18 million.

So does MLB's April attendance offer any clues for the rest of the season?

April attendance was down 3.2% compared to 2019, according to an analysis of Retrosheet data by Baseball Reference. That's about 832 fewer fans per game across the league. Even after excluding the Oakland Athletics - who are playing in a nearly empty stadium on weekdays - attendance per game is down 2.3%.