MLB game time drops 24 minutes in first year with pitch clock

The average nine-inning game lasted two hours and 40 minutes in 2023

NBC Universal, Inc.

Major League Baseball added a pitch clock in 2023 with hopes of speeding up the game, and it paid immediate dividends in its first season.

The average time for a nine-inning MLB game was two hours and 40 minutes, a 24-minute dropoff from 2022. It's the lowest level since 1985 and the first time it dipped below three hours since 2015.

Here is a look at how the 2023 pace of play compared to other recent seasons, per the league:

  • 2016: 3:00:42
  • 2017: 3:05:11
  • 2018: 3:00:44
  • 2019: 3:05:35
  • 2020: 3:07:46
  • 2021: 3:10:07
  • 2022: 3:03:44
  • 2023: 2:39:49

The Miami Marlins had the quickest games on average at 2:35. On the other end, the Baltimore Orioles and the Pittsburgh Pirates had the longest games on average at 2:44.

The number of longer games dropped significantly with the pitch clock. There were just nine games that lasted more than 3.5 hours. By comparison, there were 390 such games in 2021.

Game times weren't the only thing that got quicker this season. New rules led to a jump in stolen bases per game (1.4), stolen base attempts per game (1.8) and a new record for stolen base success rate (80.2%).

MLB also released its attendance figures for 2023 and saw a total attendance of 70,747,365. It marks the first time the league has exceeded 70 million in attendance since 2017. Twenty-six of the league's 30 teams saw an attendance increase from 2022 to 2023.

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