Major League Baseball has been America’s pastime for as long as many can remember. It’s the all-American sport. The ballpark. A hot dog. A soda. It’s what families used to do for outings. Key words; used to. Attendance has been dropping in baseball for several years now and television ratings are dipping, too.
In fact, baseball is on its way to its lowest average attendance in 15 years. What are the reasons for this? Some are obvious, some not so much. Additionally, who should capitalize on this trend?
First of all, today’s society is different. It’s a fact. People are more mobile, agile and busy. They don’t want to devote four hours sitting in blazing heat while watching a team strikeout at a record pace. Seriously, does it sound appealing for a reasonable person to pay approximately $150 bucks for their family to sit in 90-degree weather, buy their kids food that costs another $30 to $50 just to see their team win a meaningless game because there are 161 more?
It doesn’t for me. Major League Baseball has a real dilemma. They can’t lower prices because of the salaries
of the players. They can’t let players get back on steroids so there aren’t any compelling home run record chases
anymore. MLB even bragged recently about cutting a full five minutes off the average nine-inning game. Awesome! We went from three hours and ten minutes to three hours and five minutes. That should cut down on one $6 hot dog!
Now, for the television ratings. Why aren’t people watching pro baseball games on TV? It’s not hot and they have cheap food at home. The three-hour thing is still in play here. People can barely watch a two-minute video on Twitter in its entirety. So, in a 162-game season, the games must be interesting to hold someone’s attention. If it’s not a close, good game, viewers will catch the next one.
So far, on Sunday Night Baseball, one game, the matchup between the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels, has drawn more than two million viewers. The Giants and Cubs game on May 27th barely drew more than a million.
Who needs to take advantage of this? The NFL and NBA. The NBA is trying with their Summer League since it’s gaining ground and people enjoy watching the rookies play. The NFL could literally televise practices and compete. I would personally love to watch wide receivers and defensive backs go at it in practice over watching Aaron Judge or Joey Gallo strikeout two or three times per game.