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In recent years, there has been a noticeable decline in the attendance and viewership of Major League Baseball across the United States. Multiple factors could be contributing to this decline, but the sport is not dead yet. If the issues are addressed now, baseball could be saved.
Right now it looks like baseball is starting to die as a sport in the USA, but it is far from dead, with a few tweaks in the way that the game is played and marketed, the sport could make a major comeback and reclaim its title as America’s favorite pastime.
Let’s break down the biggest factors contributing to the decline of the game’s popularity, and what needs to happen in order to course-correct the entire sport.
The world is constantly evolving, and baseball is not.
We live in a world where everyone is constantly bombarded by screens, lights, messages, articles, games, and the list keeps ongoing. This has caused a shift in the average attention span of individuals, and it has not been helpful for sports like baseball.
The fact of the matter is that people are faced with an endless amount of options now when it comes to entertainment, and baseball has taken a backseat to many new forms of entertainment that have hit the market.
As time goes on, it is becoming more and more of a rarity that people have the time or the attention to sit down for three to four hours and watch a game.
Nowadays, people are much more drawn to anything that they can pull their attention away from soon after getting into it. Time is still one of our biggest commodities, and it seems like baseball eats up too much of it for most of us.
Because of this, the MLB has started to implement new rules that in theory will make the game shorter. At the very least, these new rules should prevent any games from dragging on forever.
They have experimented with time clocks between pitches and between innings, as well as changing some of the rules for games that go into extra-innings.
The problem with these rule changes is that they are not popular with the people that are lifelong fans of the game. There is a catch twenty-two when it comes to trying to attract new fans to the game, while also keeping the current fans satisfied.
The marketing needs an upgrade.
Another problem that baseball has had in America is that it is not marketed as well as most of the other major sports. The MLB does not put that much effort into marketing its players, which makes it harder to create raving fans of any players or teams in the league.
Baseball is also at the point where it might be too available for us to watch. There is close to no scarcity when it comes to being able to watch a game because it is a sport where games are played seven days a week at all times of the day.
On top of that, teams are usually playing in a series against each other. The problem with the way that this is set up is that it takes a lot of meaning out of each individual game.
Compare this to football, where there are three major days each week for football games, and we are seeing different matchups each week.
Since there are fewer games each season in the NFL, each game is worth a lot more to the players and the fans. Almost every single game in the NFL can make a difference in what team will be crowned the champion at the end of the season.
The same cannot be said for baseball. In a typical system, a major league team will have 162 games in total, which makes it incredibly hard to pick out which ones will actually determine whether or not a team makes the playoffs.
If baseball could find a way to market the sport and the players so that the fans have more of a reason to be invested in the games, we could see massive growth in the sport again.
Are people playing baseball less or just watching it less?
The concern is coming from the decrease in the viewership and attendance for the pros in baseball, but the best solution there is for the longevity of the sport is going to start with the kids.
Are kids still going out and signing up for their Little League?
The good news is, it looks like youth participation in baseball has started to climb again. This means that kids are still detaching from their devices at least some of the time to go out and play with other kids and be outside.
This is good news for the sport in general, and not just because it means that there will be a pool of players coming up that can keep the sport alive.
Having high levels of participation in Little League baseball should also lead to an increase in the interest of the sport.
Some of the kids that are signing up for their first team today might end up playing in the MLB in the future, but far more of those kids will likely be turned into lifelong fans of the game.
There is an even more important takeaway from the rise in participation in youth sports though.
It is more than possible that as a society, we are starting to come to terms with how technology-driven we have become and the problems that have been created by social media and our screens.
Parents are likely starting to push back a little bit by having their kids sign up for team sports. There is a lot of value in getting our kids to go out and play with other kids, and learn the value of working as a member of a team. Most of us know that.
If this trend continues, it could be the first domino in starting to push the world back to a place where baseball and other sports, in general, will be more attractive to the general public.
As a matter of fact, it would be the first step in a sequence of events that shifts all of society back to have longer attention spans, better relationships, and better mental health.
- There is dissonance between the game of baseball and the average person’s interests.
- Marketing is the key element to having sports survive.
- Our children might hold the future of the sport in their hands.
Dissonance has been created between society and the game.
As society has evolved, attention spans have become shorter and people have become far more drawn to other forms of entertainment.
Baseball, as a sport, has not changed much if at all to keep up with these shifts in people, and that is likely why there has been a noticeable decrease in the viewership of the game.
Marketing is the key.
While there are still raving fans of the sport out there, the MLB and other baseball-related organizations struggle to position themselves in the market in a way that will attract new fans without losing current ones.
Without good marketing, there is going to be a decline in the way that any sport or business is doing. You always need to have fresh viewers coming into the sport, and you need to give those viewers a reason to stick around. Baseball as a whole could do a better job there.
Our children could be the biggest factor in reviving the sport.
Over the long term, our children are going to be the major force in either bringing baseball back to the point that it was at or killing the sport altogether.
If they do not start to pick up an interest in the sport early on, it becomes far less likely that they will find any interest in it further down the road.
By the time that today’s kids are older, they will already be grounded in other hobbies and markets, which will just be taking away from the game of baseball.
Q: What are the benefits of youth sports?
A: There are physical, mental, and social benefits that come from kids playing youth sports. Youth sports are a prime opportunity for kids to stay active, learn to work with others, and build their character all at the same time.
Q: Is it safe for my son or daughter to play sports?
A: All sports are going to come with some chance of injury, but all things considered, the benefits of youth sports far outweigh the risks of participation. Swimming, cheerleading, golf, and baseball are often among the list of the safest sports for children.
Q: What is the most popular sport in the United States?
A: A few years ago, Gallup released a poll showing that football is still the most popular sport to watch in America, but research from cedesports.org has shown that baseball is still in the lead for the most popular sport to play.
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