If a team wins a World Series and no one watches it does it count? The Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals are expected to set an all time low for TV ratings this year. I’d be willing to guess that if you asked the average Joe on the street, he wouldn’t even know who’s playing in the Series this year. I had to really rack my brain to remember who won the World Series last year. The San Francisco Giants btw. What’s happened to baseball?
The National Football League has replaced Major League Baseball as our National Pastime. That is no longer debatable. TV Ratings, attendance, Q ratings of the players, video game sales, and the fact that the Super Bowl is damn near a national holiday, all point to the NFL being top dog. Maybe baseball is what it is and we all should just accept it, but I can’t stop myself from thinking that the MLB put themselves in this predicament and they’ll eventually figure a way out.
In my youth, I’m a grizzled 41 now, the MLB Game Of The Week was must see for me and my friends. Every weekend we watched This Week In Baseball, hoping they would spotlight our favorite team. Now with cable, I can see a game any night of the week, and I can catch highlights to every game, every half hour. Is there over-saturation going on?
The “steroid era” backlash did turn some fans off, but attendance and ratings weren’t that great during that time either. The ridiculous All Star game home field stipulation has turned some fans away from the game too. The 90 win Wildcard Cardinals really have home field against the AL West Champion 96 win Rangers… That’s just silly.
The distance between the have’s and have not’s is too great in baseball. Many small market teams struggle to compete with the big boys, but then how do you explain the Twins and the Rays? There are always exceptions to the rule and a well run organization, regardless of payroll, can make annual noise in the pennant push. Some can even make the argument that the skyrocketing payroll of the Yankees and Red Sox have created villains to root against, and that a good heel can be good for business.
The game’s too slow for today’s generation of EASports gamers and anytime highlight watchers but with today’s generation not having live games as easily accessible as years past, how can you really tell. Maybe if more families could afford to go to the games and take in the sights, sounds, and the smells of a live game, then maybe more kids would attach themselves to a team.
Attendance is dwindling around the league and the prices to see the games are still going up. I guess that’s one way to run a business. But wouldn’t making prices more affordable for the average American family be a more effective way to grow the sport? And growing the sport should be on the mind of MLB and all the owners. Their product is dying a slow death, and unless they can find a way to tap into a younger market the ratings will continue to plummet.