Why is baseball not as popular today?
Going Long with Geisler
Published: Friday, November 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, November 1, 2013 00:11
Wednesday night, the Boston Red Sox completed their run from worst to first and won their third world series in the last 10 years. Baseball is America’s past time and many of our forays into sports, but the World Series, with all its drama, consistently rates much lower than other major sport championship series.
The first four games of the playoffs averaged 14.1 million viewers. Last year’s series—a one sided sweep—averaged just 12.6 million viewers. The Super Bowl, although it’s an apples and oranges comparison, consistently gets well over 100 million viewers. Game seven of last year’s NBA finals had 26.1 million watching. Fortunately, game four of the series beat Sunday night football, which featured the hapless Vikings against the Packers, after losing two of the last three years.
It’s true that television ratings in general have taken a hit in recent years. Sports are included, but baseball has taken the hit especially hard. Especially on its biggest stage.
Keith Olbermann recently argued this is basically because teams are regional brands and nothing else. People watch their own teams, but once they’re out, the average person isn’t making the baseball playoffs appointment viewing.
This is probably true, but the Red Sox (and even the Cardinals to some extent) are certainly as close as there is to a national brand team after their recent successes, but the problem of low viewership and interest persists.
The television ratings don’t really tell the whole story either. The prevailing attitude among young people today is that basketball, football and even hockey, are much more fun to watch than baseball.
People often say the games are too slow or the season is too long or even that baseball is the game of a time gone by when people couldn’t just sit on their cell phones, iPads or laptops all night and amuse themselves to death.
Maybe baseball is too slow, but it’s too bad that our culture is in such a hurry that many of us can’t sit down and enjoy America’s pastime anymore, instead requiring the constant stimulation that sports like football, basketball and hockey provide. Baseball can either make you think, or bore you.
It’s a shame so many are bored by it.