You don’t have to look any further than the national reach of each league’s television broadcasts to see why this may be the case. The game that once flooded every boys mind is now often called “boring” or “lazy.” There are still kids who are baseball-crazed, but as I asked around the school, they seemed hard to find. Waiting in the outfield for the ball to come your way. season was shortened by a players’ strike. Still, I wonder if he will still be playing five years from now. … Percentage of games aired by county in the 2018 season. Perhaps most telling, is the fact that over the last 12 years the number of kids participating in Little League Baseball has dropped sharply, causing many towns to resort to multi-city teams and leagues. But mostly it matters because, as a friend of mine who has coached the game pointed out, baseball is a microcosm of America. Growing up in yesteryear, as I’m sure you’re made aware by anyone your senior, was so much better. And school recesses are much shorter and more controlled than ever before. Major League Baseball's overall average of 26,854 through Wednesday is 1.4 percent below the 27,242 through this similar point last season, which wound up … Baseball combines athleticism and brain power. To submit a letter to the editor for publication, write to. I would have to say that money has ruined the sport. I hope football and baseball are watching and learning because the same thing will be happening to them. Major League Baseball and its fans have raised alarms in recent years over a perceived decline in the popularity of baseball in the United States. Baseball matters because it has shaped our culture and our kids for decades. In 2019, 12 of the 29 United States-based major league teams were the most popular prime-time broadcast in their market. Sunday Night Football between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants was the only slot in which viewership rose compared to last year; every other slot was down double digits. In this book, Matte laments the loss of simple pleasures, among them baseball. That eliminates some kids who might otherwise play. Individual teams sell exclusive rights for nearly all of their games to either regional branches of these national networks or to local stations. The comments section is closed. Baseball has five franchises essentially invulnerable to sagging attendance – the Red Sox, Cardinals, Cubs, Yankees and Dodgers. Reports of Baseball’s Popular Decline Are…Popular An old-fashioned sport seeks modern relevancy—the good news is people still care Google Search popularity for N.F.L. MLB’s division series were down 40 percent. — … It is a part of our history. Further evidence of the local nature of baseball’s fandom can be seen in Google searches. Baseball requires a different level of discipline than other sports. “Today, the fastest growing activity among young people is nothing,” Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred recently said, rather bizarrely, in a Sports Illustrated for Kids interview. And which factors are more critical than others in influencing the league’s popularity? Stand tall for our Country and our Flag!!! People also follow the games closely due to the increase in fantasy sports. He walked more than ever, the fifth-highest rate in baseball (18.6%). Mom, writer, teacher, living the good life on a buffalo farm with my husband, kids, parents, blogs at charmingfarming.com. 98% of counties air at least a quarter of James’s games. MLB blames much of that on historically bad weather, particularly in April. Falling attendance, poor World Series ratings and a lack of nationally recognized stars are often cited as evidence of the sport’s impending collapse. League officials and media experts all anticipated pent-up fan interest and the … Baseball is a humble sport. “When I grew up we’d… In many cities, baseball retains its popularity. On cable, 24 major league teams ranked first in their market in prime time. Parents today are far less likely to send kids out into the neighborhood to play unsupervised for hours on end. Apparently, baseball is dying or at least significantly declining. The NFL knocked the MLB off its pedestal as “America’s Greatest Pastime” long ago. Over the past several seasons, baseball has tried to broaden the reach of its stars. This pairs with #1 but there is subtle differentiation. There are too many breaks in the action. The NFL was suffering through a ratings decline … and 1,230 for the N.B.A. The sport of baseball is an important part of America’s culture and history, but it seems to be declining in popularity among teenagers today. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, Raise the kind of person you'd like to know. It has been with sharp interest that we have followed the return of professional sports over the past month. When summer rolls around again, some kids' only experience with the game is getting clobbered by teams who play several months out of the year. A major concern for baseball is the meager national profiles of its stars. His hard-hit rate was up, the seventh best in baseball (55.6%), just ahead of Mike Trout. Cam Newton's rough stretch, MLB's decline in popularity, Tom Brady on Antonio Brown's signing (Hour 2) Podcast Feed More From Zolak & Bertrand Podcast Zolak and Bertrand open the second hour breaking down the Patriots' recent struggles including the rough stretch by Cam Newton and the potential causes for it (0:00) Major League Baseball and its fans have raised alarms in recent years over a perceived decline in the popularity of baseball in the United States. ©2020 Verizon Media. By nearly any measure, pro football and pro basketball players outpace baseball players in national popularity. So the boys on these teams naturally get in a lot more practice. But the fact remains that people spend many more hours watching their home team than other prime-time shows. He loves it. But it's not likely that they will have enough time to organize and execute even one inning of baseball. Apparently, baseball is dying or at least significantly declining. Baseball’s broadcasting model is much different. After following their home team for 162 games, fans may be unlikely to sit through a series between two teams they have rarely seen play and with 50 players whose names they may barely recognize. teams from the same city. 1% of counties air at least a quarter of Trout’s games. There's less hustle and more calculation. Years ago I read the book A Reasonable Life: Toward a Simpler, Secure, More Sane Existence by Ference Matte. But there may be no better solution than to find ways to let fans actually watch them play. The things that affect baseball -- money, the family, values, and how kids spend their time -- are things that affect us all. As I mentioned, my son is on a high stakes team. Within a week, MLB, NBA, and the NHL all came back with scheduled games, leading to unexpected results. Why’s the league experiencing a diminishing viewership? The Rockies, for instance, aren’t as popular across the country, but they get more searches in Colorado than the N.F.L.’s Broncos do. It matters because even those who aren't fans of the game admit that baseball is a great sport. Bats, gloves, helmets, shoes, private lessons. All that adds up in a hurry. For these kids, soon baseball just isn't that fun anymore. MLB could see its first season since 2003 with average attendance below 30,000. So, what does it matter? This post originally appeared on Charming Farming. Part of HuffPost Parenting. Much has been made of baseball's supposed decline in popularity, and there's no denying that national broadcasts of NBA games far outdraw programs like ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball. Few of Trout’s games are shown outside Southern California. M.L.B. That's because the nature of the game does not lend itself to show stealing or cockiness. Thanks to big money endorsement deals and massive fan followings, young boys are more likely to be drawn to flashier, more in-your-face sports. With the sport losing popularity, it's no wonder that some Little League teams and high schools are struggling to recruit enough players. An analysis by The New York Times of television broadcasts by county shows how widespread the broadcasts of the N.F.L. This chart adds two elements to gauge the popularity of baseball: Click on image to enlarge The first line shows the percent of stadium capacity teams were … About 68.5 million fans attended major league games during the 2019 regular season, down from a peak of nearly 80 million in 2007. It's expensive to play baseball. games, giving wide exposure to the league’s best teams and stars. Teams like the Detroit Tigers and Colorado Rockies have very little following outside their areas and a few neighboring states compared with the N.F.L. Buy why? He compares the joys of a Sunday afternoon pick-up game to the intense, high stakes sport that kids play today. To answer these questions, we've […] This works well for the regional networks — many of which are owned, at least in part, by the teams themselves. It’s well documented that attendance at Major League Baseball games has been declining since 2012. cashes in on its sheer volume of games, vastly outperforming the N.F.L. But the way in which he declined was actually somewhat fascinating. It is a part of our history. Even the 160 M.L.B.-affiliated minor league teams sold nearly 50 million tickets in 2017. Boys learn to love and play baseball from their dads. For example, only six of his 162 games in 2018 were aired in Chicago. For the first time in 15 years, total attendance dropped below 70 million; 17 teams experienced a decline in 2018. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. Baseball combines athleticism and brain power. ... other leagues could exacerbate the decline. The league attributed much of the decline in 2018 to cold, wet weather… Furthermore, yet others blame the alleged decline of baseball popularity on the change of the fan base, and the lack of subsequent adjustments by MLB to counter these changes. There is growing pressure for kids to specialize. But M.L.B. Although baseball’s national TV ratings lag far behind those of other top sports, these local broadcasts are very popular. Sources: ESPN, MiLB.com. I wonder if he'll have anyone to play with. According to SportMediaWatch, the NBA’s ratings have fallen and MLB is “weak.” The NBA has struggled to average more than 1.5 million viewers, and baseball is in no better shape. According to YouGov’s ratings of active sports personalities, 91 percent of Americans have heard of LeBron James and 88 percent have heard of Tom Brady, but only 43 percent have heard of Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels, baseball’s best player. 30 years ago, the late Kirby Puckett became the first $3m player. Maybe this is what owners are angling for, to save money on an abbreviated season that would be played without fans in the stands, all while getting die … Fox, ESPN, CBS and NBC own the national broadcasting rights for N.F.L. And for the first time ever there were no baseball players among ESPN's 2015 list of favorite athletes. Baseball matters because it has shaped our culture and our kids for decades. Despite the continued popularity of the National Football League (NFL) in the United States, more broadly gridiron football is in an era of rapid decline, and evidence suggests that the decline … There's the expense of travel and time away from work. The … The most financially successful sports league in the world is in trouble. Maybe he has a point, but as the mother of a boy playing intense, high stakes baseball, I can tell you that it is anything but a joyless sport. Unless you are a rabid baseball fan, who really cares if the game continues to attract kids and be America's favorite sport? However, if viewed through the lens of total tickets sold and local television ratings, a somewhat more optimistic picture emerges: one of strong, local fan bases — and a national following that could have a lot more room to grow. Baseball is too slow for a generation of kids raised on TV and video games. Why is America's favorite sport losing ground with American kids? This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Today, sports are not only viewed in person and on TV, but around the world on the Internet. stars are — and how minimal they are for baseball’s stars like Trout. So, the comparative ratings? For the NBA’s opening week, the league averaged 1.56 million viewers, down from the already lackluster pre-coronavirus average of 1.62 million. A lot of people are going to a lot of baseball games. 4: Baseball Is Declining in Popularity Last fall, in a New York Times article titled “Is The Game Over?” Jonathan Mahler wrote that baseball “has never been healthier. Butterworth says the decline in baseball popularity might have to do with how we view the games. According to this article by Mark Fisher in the Washington Post, Rob Manfred, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, has concerns about the sport's decreasing appeal to young people. Major League Baseball's average attendance of 26,854 is 1.4 percent below the 27,242 through the similar point last season, which was below 30,000 for … But now the change has trickled down to the athletes themselves — the MLB cannot even attract an athlete who is clearly better for the sport. The way kids play has changed. All have sold at … The vaunted NFL is down 13 percent early in its season. The days of The Sandlot are over. The baseball game, which turned into a 16-1 Boston rout, attracted 4.41 million viewers. and the N.B.A in ticket sales every year. ESPN’s MLB return numbers were also … An additional seven teams ranked in the top three in prime time. 100% of counties air at least a quarter of Brady’s games. ranked first over all on cable in every major league market in the United States except Miami. Gallup shows an alarming decline in support of sports in general, and it is across the spectrum. According Fisher's article, a recent study by David Ogden at the University of Nebraska found that 95 percent of all college baseball players come from two parent homes. The article points out that MLB viewers are the oldest of any sport, with 50 percent being over the age of 50. According to this article by Mark Fisher in the Washington Post, Rob Manfred, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, has concerns about the sport's decreasing appeal to young people. teams play at least 2,430 regular-season games each season, compared with only 256 regular-season games for the N.F.L. To start, MLB attendance was 68,494,752, down 1.62% for 2019, following a 4% drop for the 2018 season. Since even baseball’s best players rarely get airtime in markets outside their own, baseball struggles to promote its national stars on the same level as other sports do. Today, there are a half dozen or more who are earning at least 10 times that, topping out at $38.3m per season. Again, baseball is relying on its high volume of games (one nearly every day for six months). Baseball requires a different level of discipline than other sports. Pelicans-Jazz: 2.1 million. seasons were shortened by lockouts, and the 1994 M.L.B. It's easy to blame video games, but the way kids play has changed for a lot of reason. In addition to the other strikes against baseball (pun intended), Fisher makes the point that baseball has far fewer big time celebrity players than football or basketball. The reason baseball isn’t growing in popularity, and continues to fall further behind the NBA and NFL, is because of its own systemic issues. As Fisher points out, baseball involves a lot of waiting. Baseball is also a thinking game. and N.B.A. Last year was not an aberration when it comes to TV ratings for the NFL, it seems. Note: The 1998-99 and 2011-12 N.B.A. According to Outkick.com, neither league did well. The National Football League (NFL) has seen its TV ratings consistently decline over the past few seasons. NFL vs. MLB: Baseball’s declining popularity. Granted, baseball is far from becoming a mere "fringe" sport. Kids from single parent homes are far less likely to play baseball. But if I'm being honest, I have to admit that we are part of the problem. My son loves the game and everything that goes with it -- long practices, weekends away, the fierce competition. teams. Myth No. Instead, they’ll wait until next season, and tune back in to their local station. M.L.B. The local popularity of baseball partially explains the poor World Series ratings in recent years. Still, baseball executives say other sports have little to do with kids losing interest in baseball. Waiting for someone to finally hit the ball or to strike out. The article points out that MLB viewers are the oldest of any sport, with 50 percent being over the age of 50. and M.L.B. In some ways it requires more patience and concentration than football or basketball. As for the opening games, Outkick reported that the return of the NBA on TNT saw the following numbers: Lakers-Clippers: 3.4 million. For kids used to instant entertainment and near constant stimulation, baseball can seem boring. And traveling teams have a longer season than city league teams -- some even play year round. That is a remarkable statistic, but the logic is simple. Fears that there is a correlation between the lack of action and attendance may have some foundation. Not only that, but considering the substantial financial and time commitment that the game often requires, many single parent homes likely find it difficult to manage the sport. Fans look on as Patrick Corbin of the Washington Nationals delivers a pitch in the fourth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals on October 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. It can be a significant financial burden for parents to have a child play on a traveling team. It might be possible in twenty minutes for kids to run a few football plays or a play a quick game of basketball. All rights reserved. 52% of Generation Z prefer the National Football League or Major League Baseball, compared with 68% of all adults. We love it. 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