Baseball No Longer America's Second Favorite Sport

Even in the digital age, the headline writers infuriate the feature writers. Baseball and basketball have been back and forth in the #2 spot several times since 1990. The headline implies to me that baseball fell to #3 for the first time ever.

I guess MLB should pay attention to this type of information. I would probably answer "baseball" just because I'm so closely connected to it, but I like to watch all three sports (college basketball).

The average age of a MLB viewing being 57 is a huge red flag. Compared to other sports for the average sports fan baseball is slow and boring. I’ve been wondering what would happen when we have a generation of young adults/present and future dads who didn’t grow up playing baseball. Maybe we’re on the cusp of it now and seeing the results. 

The NBA is in a golden era and on the rise. There have never been more good players and stars in the NBA as now. 

Ten years ago who would have thought soccer highlights would be in ESPN’s Top10. You may not know who the soccer stars are. But a lot of kids know. 

I don’t believe any of the Big Four are in trouble. There are positive cases to be made for each. The question is when does soccer make it the Big Five. Does lacrosse follow and make it the Big Six in ten to fifteen years.

Then the question becomes how far does the entertainment dollar and time stretch? Which sport(s), if any become a loser. I see baseball being a loser on pace. Football could become a loser based on danger. The rest of the sports the ball/puck is always moving. If you move you eyes from the screen for a minute you’ve missed a lot of action. In baseball you may have missed two pitches the hitter took. 

It's interesting. When I was a kid, I watched all sports. But for TV choices, we had the 3 major networks plus 2 UHF channels. No computers, video games, smart phones, a gazillion TV channels plus Youtube etc etc. I grew up in the Boston area and probably watched ~120 Red Sox games per year.

My older son played baseball for a few years but got bored with it and quit playing sophomore year. It's too bad as he had a naturally strong arm and quick hand to eye. But he had little interest in the game and NEVER watched a game on TV. My younger son plays baseball and has college player aspirations, but strongly prefers watching football over baseball. And it's not even a close choice from his perspective. On occasion, he'll watch some SEC baseball (especially if Florida or LSU is playing) and some MLB playoff baseball, but that's really about it. Otherwise, he prefers football or video games. Seems a lot of his friends are in the same boat, even his HS and travel team teammates. He says that he loves playing baseball, but watching baseball is "kinda boring . . . I don't know how you sit through all my games". On the other hand, he really liked watching the MLB home run derby this past summer, which brings up one of two observations.

I've thought for a while that baseball needs:  to 1) quicken the pace of the game and 2) have more action if it's going to survive the younger generation. A 10 second pitch clock is a step in the right direction. Replays in 30 seconds or less (if they can't figure it out in 30 seconds, call on the field stands). More offense would be another, e.g. lower the mound (e.g. 8" instead of 10"?) somewhat to offset the impact of ever faster pitcher velo or even move mound back 6"-12". Even, dare I say, initiate a Texas tie break rule if a game extends past 1 extra inning? Or even a shorter season so that each game becomes a bit more meaningful? I know, I know . . . traditionalists balk over these types of suggestions and would excommunicate me from the game for even daring to suggest such heresy. But baseball did evolve a lot in the 1800s and even the early 1900s. Perhaps to survive as a major sport, it needs to evolve a bit more? 

I appreciate the elegance of the game when played well and a 1-0 pitching duel is as interesting for me to watch as a 12-11 slugfest. But this doesn't seem to be the case with my kid's generation.

One thing is for sure, the MLBPA had better be very careful in the future regarding potentially striking over a contract dispute. I honestly think that to this day, baseball is still trying to recover from the impacts of the last strike - and that was what, 20 years ago?

 

I recently read with all the highlights available now many Millienials prefer to watch highlights on tv unless it’s a big game. 

Maybe they’re more into tracking their fantasy players than watching the individual games. I believe Red Zone has had an impact on individual game NFL viewership. It may be the new way to watch sports. 

If I had $3.2B I would buy the NY Knicks (MSG) at $3B and NYC Football club at $250M rather than the NY Yankees or Giants both valued at $3.2B.   

The NY Basketball franchise and associated properties (run properly) might be the most valuable sporting investment on the planet today.  The Soccer team will probably go up 10+ times in a generation.  Soccer and Basketball are the only true global sports. The NBA will expand to Europe and probably Asia in the next 10 years.  When the Sacramento Kings become the London Kings no one will be surprised.  Barca, Madrid, Paris, Berlin, Rome, St. Pete and Moscow are all waiting.  The global revenue for the NBA could dwarf everything.  

If baseball has its head screwed on straight they should absorb the Japanese and Korean leagues and put 4/6 teams there and maybe a couple in Latin countries in Central and South America.  Those are places the game has successfully been exported to.  Get rid of 6 to 8 lousy US locations.  Will anybody miss TB, KC, MIL, PITT, CIN, OAK, MIN, BALT?  

When the Shanghai Dragons or Beijing Emperors join MLB  then they'll be getting somewhere.

All professional sports should be wary of gambling and fantasy especially.  It erodes the value of the game itself.  Anyone who has watched a Monday football game until 12:30 hoping Russell Wilson throws a garbage time TD to get the W in fantasy football knows - that he doesn't care in the Seahawks win or lose.  Having a rooting interest in the team is the glue of sports - if they become nothing more than roulette wheels - they have to suffer.

If you look at the polling data a few thing jump out.  It was conducted over the phone (landline and cell) between December 4 -11 which of course is in the middle of Football season and if I'm sitting in my living room watching a game and I answer my phone and asked which sport I like...well you see where I going here.

The previous poll was in June of 2013 and had baseball at 14%, football at 39% and basketball at 12%, same argument can be made with June being baseball season.

The other thing that caught my eye was this statement - Samples are weighted to correct for unequal selection probability, non-response, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames.  What does that mean?  Couple that with a 5% margin for error and the numbers probably are a little higher then reported.

Link to the polling data - http://news.gallup.com/file/po...64&g_medium=copy

 

Coach_TV posted:

If you look at the polling data a few thing jump out.  It was conducted over the phone (landline and cell) between December 4 -11 which of course is in the middle of Football season and if I'm sitting in my living room watching a game and I answer my phone and asked which sport I like...well you see where I going here.

The previous poll was in June of 2013 and had baseball at 14%, football at 39% and basketball at 12%, same argument can be made with June being baseball season.

The other thing that caught my eye was this statement - Samples are weighted to correct for unequal selection probability, non-response, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames.  What does that mean?  Couple that with a 5% margin for error and the numbers probably are a little higher then reported.

Link to the polling data - http://news.gallup.com/file/po...64&g_medium=copy

 

This ^^^ probably had more than anything to do with the results than actual popularity.  If you took a poll in the next few weeks you could get a lot of positive support for how great the Winter Olympics are then we forget about them for 4 years.

In my opinion baseball doesn't need to get gimmicky to keep fans. There is no need for a pitch clock, limiting mound visits,...etc. Baseball is best when the ball is put in play, work with the umpires to call a zone that forces hitters to swing. Start working to change the mentality of the 3 outcome hitters. You don't need to have HRs for baseball to be exciting but you do need action. It is hard to find a faster paced game than baseball when a ball is in play. For years there has been a lot of repeated rhetoric that baseball is slow and football is fly by the seat of your pants exciting. There have been multiple studies that show the NFL has more down time per game than MLB does. Replay has pretty much gutted the flow and watchability of an NFL game. I believe we have seen the peak of football popularity. MLB should not follow the NFL and should run away from replay. Say we tried it and didn't achieve the results we wanted. The only argument is we wan't to get all calls correct and this doesn't really happen. We often see using replay umpires get calls spectacularly wrong. Even with advanced technology these are human beings who make mistakes, I'd err on the side of a quicker call, have the officials make a call and move on with the game. 

The NBA is probably the best athletic display of all sports but the product is devoid of the mass marketability to ever be number1.

Soccer is also a fairly high concussion sport and they will have their own issues once the NFL legal problems get rolling.

I doubt the owners care  I saw they closed the gap on revenue with the NFL to the smallest its ever been 2 bn dollars.   given that baseball is only paying about 30% of revenue to the players and NFL is paying 55%   I suspect baseball has now become the most profitable sport in America.  

There is only so many entertainment dollars top go around.

Most kids now are watching sports and movies from their tablets and phones. They dont want long gaps in between action. I know college bound basbeall players who dont like to watch the MLB on tv. As the owners and league Presidents have concentrated more on tv revenue they must address the "average age of the viewers" issue. Sports on tv has to become more attractive to the youths or else.

You guys are overlooking the growing  popularity of spectators watching online gaming i.e. ESports. My college son told me some schools are now offering scholarships for e sports.   I say this half in jest but I work with a guy who is involved with it. they have a studio, commentators etc. viewer ship is growing and popular players make serious money. who knows what the next decades will bring and the current younger generations are glued to their digital devices and online, not with their buddies playing some sport somewhere 

2boydad posted:

You guys are overlooking the growing  popularity of spectators watching online gaming i.e. ESports. My college son told me some schools are now offering scholarships for e sports.   I say this half in jest but I work with a guy who is involved with it. they have a studio, commentators etc. viewer ship is growing and popular players make serious money. who knows what the next decades will bring and the current younger generations are glued to their digital devices and online, not with their buddies playing some sport somewhere 

You could argue Robert Kraft has a reasonable handle on potential success and income. He’s the first professional sports franchise owner to purchase an eSports franchise.  Jonas Jerebko (NBA player) owns a team.

E sports may be a thing to keep an eye on.  It is how our Military will probably be based in 20 years.  Equipment will be "automated" as will soldiers themselves.  The country with the ability to best control these things will be the military power of the mid 21st century. 

It is a good point that Soccer could be the next concussion focus.  

As for revenue dollars - the reason the NBA will have growing value is the fact it has the potential to be the ONLY truly global league.  The TV money for a sport that covers Europe, Asia, North & South America is astronomical.

The threat to the NBA is competitiveness.  The fact that 3 to 5 players can not only dominate the sport but quell overall competitiveness is something they have to sort out.

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