This isn’t exactly true, actually. I was at September’s Salty Battles (which had a huge MK turnout) and October’s Salty Battles. October’s was small due to the rare snow storm that happened, November didn’t happen because it was two days after Thanksgiving, and December was Marvel-only because that’s what it was supposed to be.
MK’s problems stem from the fact that they have such a tiny competitive history to draw on. It still has tons of players, but a large amount of these people take online play seriously and couldn’t care less about offline tournaments. You have to keep in mind that many of these people are MK-only players who don’t know the size of Capcom tournament games and therefore are naturally a bit ignorant about what’s outside their realm.
But despite this, we’re still pulling numbers. It seems like there’s no love because people look at SRK and stream chats to confirm their biases. MK players don’t come here for the same reason Smash players don’t, because we already have established online communities, but then we look small because we’re overshadowed by the other games. On stream chats we get constant trolling because we don’t get the stream time. We’ll run a separate pool stream all day which most people aren’t aware of, then run top 8 on Spooky’s stream and get tons of “WUT MK?? DID THEY GET LIKE 10 ENTRANTS? THIS GAME IS DEAD”. I believe NEC had 84 MK entrants as the official number, which was lower than expected, but pretty decent for a “dead” game.
You also have to keep in mind that we come from different personal backgrounds. There are tons of people who want to join the competitive scene, but have conflicts with work/school that they’ve never had to work around before for a video game. We have tons of people who live in an area with no FG scene or a Capcom-only scene. These people have issues making it out to tournaments to support the game, but will for something as big as Evo. I would be 99.9% confident that we would still get a bigger turnout than Tekken/BB did last year. Even Final Round is looking to be pretty huge for MK so far, with people from all around the country flying in as well as some of our Canadian players.
TL;DR : Enthusiasm is dropping, but it’s being overstated how much it has dropped. The game’s far from dead and still has a bright future in majors.
I also just realized this has nothing to do with video game awards, but I already wrote this out.