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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

CNN: Is baseball on its way out?

“No one goes to baseball games anymore, its too crowded there.”

Except it’s untrue. Seventeen of the game’s 30 teams have poorer attendance than a year ago at this time. World Series television ratings get more disappointing year after year. Household-name players—I mean popular and scandal-free ones like Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter—have come to the ends of their careers, with no clear heir-apparents.

Is there a star player of today you’d go out of your way to see?

“Hey, Felix Hernandez is in town!” “You wanna go to the ballpark tonight and see Adam Wainwright?”

Those are your All-Star starting pitchers. Would you recognize either one if you saw him coming toward you on the street?

Baseball is losing its luster. As ticket prices get higher, interest goes lower. As options on television expand, baseball’s grip on the American public gets ever more slippery.

TV’s audience for Game 1 of the 2004 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals came to approximately 25.4 million viewers. When the same two teams met in the World Series last October, Game 1’s viewership was pegged at around 15 million.

One year earlier a series between the San Francisco Giants and Detroit Tigers attracted the worst TV ratings of any World Series in the past 30 years.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 11:55 AM | 82 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: attendance, baseball is dying, cnn, tv ratings

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   1. vivaelpujols Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:03 PM (#4751987)
Mike Trout
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:14 PM (#4752010)
When I was a kid you had big name celebs like Bob Welch and Jack Armstrong start All-Star Games. Now you have Felix Hernandez. WHO??? Is that even a real name?
   3. Batman Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:16 PM (#4752013)
Strange coincidence that most of the teams with poorer attendance have had some combination of really bad weather and disappointing performance.
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:18 PM (#4752017)
MLB has increased it's revenue dramatically (faster than any other sport) and has almost caught the mighty NFL in total revenue.

Hardly seems like it's fading away.
   5. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4752022)
   6. Dillon Gee Escape Plan Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:21 PM (#4752024)
I had no idea Mike Downey was still around.

Some classic FJM.
   7. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:21 PM (#4752026)
World Series television ratings get more disappointing year after year. Household-name players—I mean popular and scandal-free ones like Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter—have come to the ends of their careers, with no clear heir-apparents.


There may be some nugget of useful argument in this article, but I sure as #### ain't clicking through after this sentence. Because the idea that baseball simply can't survive as a sport without Mo Rivera or Cap'n Giftbasket is just so much blanket "count the ringzzz" level Yankees fan stupidity that it overwhelms any other argument made.
   8. Jeltzandini Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:23 PM (#4752029)
No, but Mike Downey is.

Felix Hernandez and Adam Wainwright have each been in the league since 2005, and pitching at Cy Youngish levels for much of that time. This reads as if Downey had never heard of either until glancing at an ASG preview.
   9. DA Baracus Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:23 PM (#4752030)
TV’s audience for Game 1 of the 2004 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals came to approximately 25.4 million viewers. When the same two teams met in the World Series last October, Game 1’s viewership was pegged at around 15 million.


I wonder if there was a special appeal to 2004 compared to 2013....
   10. Chris Needham Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:31 PM (#4752035)
I'd really like to see an honest attempt to address the question -- instead of these tired, lazy, usually wrong arguments.

It's not too difficult to envision a scenario (not a likelihood, just a scenario) were MLB is horse racing in 20 years. Yes, revenues are way way up. But why? Because MLB has hitched its wagons to the cable industry. What % of today's revenues are from cable? What % of ticket revenue is from corporations? How have those numbers changed over the last twenty years? Is the current economic system sustainable?

If something comes along and truly disrupts cable, then what? Where's all that money going to come from? There's always going to be the next big thing, but can we be sure? MLBAM's league generates something like $600MM a year for the entire league. Time Warner is paying the Dodgers (just the Dodgers!) about $300MM. Is there enough expansion in MLBAM to fill that revenue void if Time Warner went kaput?

Attendance is up. But some of that's gimmicks. Corporate tickets. Smaller stadiums and pricing schemes to artificially increase demand. Marketing to non-diehards whose interest are more likely to be transient, and dependent on the 'big game' feel. What if that changes? Or those schemes stop working?

What about the ratings? Yesterday's game was like the second or third lowest rated game in history. It's average viewer age was 50+, white, and male. MLB's tv audience has been getting older, whiter, and maler. Can that turn around? What if it doesn't?

It's easy to point to the millions of similar essays since Chadwick was around that have said baseball is on the verge of dying. But isn't it at least a *tiny* bit possible that someone could make a reasonable argument that could actually be right eventually?
   11. The District Attorney Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:40 PM (#4752044)
Time Warner is paying the Dodgers (just the Dodgers!) about $300MM.
Time Warner does this because they know lots of people pay for cable solely because they want to watch sports. If cable ceases to exist, these customers would be thrilled to give their money directly to the people providing the sports. That's what these customers would like to be doing now, rather than also paying for 500 channels they don't care about. But it's not currently an option.
   12. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:42 PM (#4752047)

MLB has increased it's revenue dramatically (faster than any other sport) and has almost caught the mighty NFL in total revenue.


NFL attendance has been steadily declining the last five years too.
   13. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4752057)

NFL attendance has been steadily declining the last five years too.


I don't see it.
   14. BDC Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:55 PM (#4752063)
I'd have said Trout too, but in fact he was here last weekend & I didn't. This matters little because baseball is never out of my way.
   15. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:55 PM (#4752064)
I could very easily see the MLB revenue growth curve flattening out in the years ahead. I could even possibly see an eventual contraction, with the teams in say Tampa and/or Miami going away completely.

But a decline to the levels of horse racing? Personally, I just can't envision that scenario happening any time soon. I'm reluctant to say it's COMPLETELY impossible, but this country has (and will continue to have) enormous amounts of disposable income and an insatiable appetite for entertainment. And baseball is fortunate in that it has the summer pretty much entirely to itself.
   16. Jeltzandini Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:59 PM (#4752070)
The well-known paradox true of just about all major US sports, including college football and basketball, is that:

1. Attendance is down somewhat. People are less willing to devote a day to the expense and bother of attending a sports event. This is true even of major, successful teams with large passionate fanbases.
2. TV ratings are down, as part of the general decadal trend due to the explosion in channels, plus on-demand viewing etc. The top ranked TV show of 2014 draws about half the total viewers of the top ranked show of 1980, in a more populous country.
3. Broadcast rights fees are way up, because sports are still DVR-proof appointment TV, to be watched live with ads by 99% of the viewers.

If something happens in the TV industry to ding #3, all sports are going to see a big revenue crunch.







   17. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 02:00 PM (#4752072)
I would suggest it's possible MLB revenues are climbing because a large majority of its fan base is approaching retirement age, and thus has more time and money than ever before to spend on frivolities like baseball.
   18. madvillain Posted: July 16, 2014 at 02:03 PM (#4752076)
It's easy to point to the millions of similar essays since Chadwick was around that have said baseball is on the verge of dying. But isn't it at least a *tiny* bit possible that someone could make a reasonable argument that could actually be right eventually?


If you cry wolf long enough, eventually there will be a wolf. As mentioned up thread, there are some legit concerns about baseball's continuing popularity in America, but this article doesn't make the argument effectively. If I was going to write this article it would probably start with the amount of people under 20 that self report that baseball is their 3rd or 4th favorite sport to follow.

I would suggest it's possible MLB revenues are climbing because a large majority of its fan base is approaching retirement age, and thus has more time and money than ever before to spend on frivolities like baseball.


Plausible, but in reality it's because of broadcast rights and MLBAM. It's not coming from merch sales or people spending obscene amounts at the ballpark so much as good old fashioned TV money.
   19. zonk Posted: July 16, 2014 at 02:08 PM (#4752082)
CNN: Is Baseball on its way out?

Baseball: Why, CNN, are you lonely for company in the land of the forgotten and irrelevant?
   20. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4752094)
NFL attendance has been steadily declining the last five years too.



I don't see it.


Oh, I didn't mean collectively. I meant in some stadiums at certain points of the year, attendance has fallen, like Jacksonville when they were winless.

Just like MLB overall is enjoying some of its best years attendance wise, but since its falling in a few places, that means the sport is doomed.
   21. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 16, 2014 at 02:20 PM (#4752098)
Seventeen of the game’s 30 teams have poorer attendance than a year ago at this time.

This is highly misleading. Across MLB, attendance is down 347 fans per game. That's probably just a rounding error given MLB's revenues. More importantly, it's also measuring from an extremely high plateau. The 10 most highly attended seasons are the last 10. MLB never had it so good. It is awash in dough, and while there is always a chance they kick their current advantages away, it won't be easy.
   22. vivaelpujols Posted: July 16, 2014 at 02:24 PM (#4752103)
What people really want is the steroid era back.
   23. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 16, 2014 at 02:27 PM (#4752108)
It's not too difficult to envision a scenario (not a likelihood, just a scenario) were MLB is horse racing in 20 years. Yes, revenues are way way up. But why? Because MLB has hitched its wagons to the cable industry.


I think one thing that separates baseball from horse racing (and boxing, another sport that's lost much of its audience from its peak) is that potential new fans are created each year through participation in baseball (which obviously isn't the case with the other two sports). As long as millions of little kids continue to play baseball, the supply of adult baseball fans will be refreshed.
   24. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 02:40 PM (#4752123)
Team sports also have an attachment to a city, whereas individual sports like horse racing (or boxing or tennis or golf or NASCAR), will always have a tenuous position because you're not born into a team the way a Cubs fan learns the Cubs from his father, or a Red Sox fan becomes a Red Sox fan because the entire city is rallying behind a pennant run.

Its hard to see any of the four major sports dropping that far off our radar screen. The NHL has the best chance, but it will likely always have a following as a niche sport in the Northeast and a few other markets. At the very worst, baseball would become like hockey, a niche sport popular in certain markets, but not part of the national consciousness.
   25. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: July 16, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4752127)
TV ratings are down, as part of the general decadal trend due to the explosion in channels, plus on-demand viewing etc. The top ranked TV show of 2014 draws about half the total viewers of the top ranked show of 1980, in a more populous country.

This isn't true, as it pertains to sports. National ratings for other leagues are strong, which is why the doomsayers are constantly juxtaposing them with baseball's declining national ratings. Those leagues aren't saturating their customers with six to 14 games in their local markets each week, though, so the national ratings aren't really indicative of the relative appetite for televised baseball, which is enormous.
   26. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 16, 2014 at 02:47 PM (#4752130)
As ticket prices get higher, interest goes lower.


Heh. Even a cursory knowledge of economics suggests this is an insane reading of the situation. There is a demand curve and as prices go up there is less demand for that ticket, but that is not interest in baseball declining. It is responding rationally to a price increase. If demand falls enough to reduce total income then the price will fall and demand for tickets will increase.

Baseball teams are not maximizing interest in their tickets, else they would charge MUCH less, they are maximizing revenue.
   27. dr. scott Posted: July 16, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4752141)
Plausible, but in reality it's because of broadcast rights and MLBAM. It's not coming from merch sales or people spending obscene amounts at the ballpark so much as good old fashioned TV money.


id say its merch sales and spending at the ballpark too. MLB's big advantage over the last 30 years is the excess capacity at lots of games. In the 50's when baseball was America's sport there were around 15,000 per game. Now we are at 30k/game+ for the last 10 years. A large amount of the growth since the early 80's has been going from 20k to 30k per game and adding more teams.

Football is at over 90% capacity, and they have few games so they only way they can increase revenue is by nationalizing the sport. Baseball, however, has had room for attendance growth for over 20 years, and still has a bit more, so regionalizing the appeal of baseball has been the strategy. Baseball is now at about 70% capacity. that being said, not sure how much more that can grow, and there has been almost no growth in total attendance is nearly 10 years. Growth now is going to depend on growth of the population centers unless there is a marketing push to nationalize as well.
   28. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: July 16, 2014 at 03:18 PM (#4752154)
One of the problems with examining the favorite sports of young people is the tendency for stuff like the "X-games" being the favorite sport of a 14 year old 15 years ago, and NFL and MLB and college football being his favorite sport now.

Sure MLB is hugely boosted by the over 40 set, but there's evidence to suggest it will still be boosted by the over 40 set 30 years from now (currently the over 10 set).

IOW it's not the specific 50 year olds that are attracted to MLB, it's something inherent about MLB that attracts 50 year olds in general (and will continue to).
   29. Chris Needham Posted: July 16, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4752158)
You're right, the horse racing comparison is a bet of a stretch.

But just for fun...

This year's Belmont Stakes drew about 22 million viewers. Despite being in the middle of the day on a Sunday. Last night's All Star Game drew half that.

Apples and oranges, of course. Someone needs to devise a parimutuel system for baseball betting!

   30. JE (Jason) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 03:24 PM (#4752160)
It's not too difficult to envision a scenario (not a likelihood, just a scenario) were MLB is horse racing in 20 years.

But look at the bright side, horse racing means more A-Rod.
   31. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: July 16, 2014 at 03:28 PM (#4752163)
I think #25 nails it. I don't think in this day and age you can really "nationalize" a game like baseball where every team plays almost every single day. Most people have a limited number of hours in the day they can devote to entertainment, and the time they devote to baseball is most likely going to be on their local team, or the team they grew up a fan of.
   32. JE (Jason) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 03:33 PM (#4752167)
Might we need to take note of the age demographics though? For example, a friend asked me over lunch today if there's another major sport over the past two decades that has been just as inundated with television adverts for Cialis and Viagra.
   33. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 03:37 PM (#4752170)

Apples and oranges, of course. Someone needs to devise a parimutuel system for baseball betting!


Nationwide sports gaming is IMO, an inevitability in a generation or two. I think baseball would benefit the least out of any sport from that. Am I wrong? I like baseball and I like gambling, but I never bet on baseball except maybe Futures.

or example, a friend asked me over lunch today if there's another major sport over the past two decades that has been just as inundated with television adverts for Cialis and Viagra.


Football for sure. A golf commercial break goes - Cialis/Charles Schwab/Levitra/Cadillac/overactive bladder medication/Prudential/cholesterol medication
   34. JE (Jason) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 03:41 PM (#4752176)
A golf commercial break goes

I should have said "team sport."
   35. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: July 16, 2014 at 03:48 PM (#4752182)
This year's Belmont Stakes drew about 22 million viewers. Despite being in the middle of the day on a Sunday. Last night's All Star Game drew half that.

It was actually in the early evening on Saturday, but it's a valid point. A lot of that was certainly due to what seemed like a great chance for the first Triple Crown in half the population's lifetime. Without the Triple Crown possibility, you're probably looking at less than half that 22 million number.
   36. Chris Needham Posted: July 16, 2014 at 03:48 PM (#4752183)
Here's an article from last year pointing out the steep decline in share of the audience that's kids. And it notes that Little League participation is down 25% or so from a few years back.

Not enough to draw broad conclusions, of course -- but some interesting data points.
   37. zonk Posted: July 16, 2014 at 03:52 PM (#4752186)
What people really want is the steroid era back.


For example, a friend asked me over lunch today if there's another major sport over the past two decades that has been just as inundated with television adverts for Cialis and Viagra.


There's certainly a Rafael Palmeiro joke here, but I can't quite find it...
   38. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 04:16 PM (#4752207)
Plausible, but in reality it's because of broadcast rights and MLBAM. It's not coming from merch sales or people spending obscene amounts at the ballpark so much as good old fashioned TV money.


And what demographic is spending a lot of time sitting around watching baseball on cable TV?
   39. madvillain Posted: July 16, 2014 at 04:45 PM (#4752229)
And what demographic is spending a lot of time sitting around watching baseball on cable TV?


For advertisers, the vast majority of product is moved by 18-40 year old dudes. Nobody is paying rights fees to get the coveted senior demographics. You're off base here.
   40. Ron J2 Posted: July 16, 2014 at 05:05 PM (#4752244)
How about (from Chadwick's time if not by Chadwick)

"Professional baseball is on the wane. Salaries must come down or the interest of the public must be increased in some way."

Al Spalding
   41. TerpNats Posted: July 16, 2014 at 05:18 PM (#4752263)
2004: The Bosox comeback, plus the Cards' first pennant in 17 years (something often overlooked).
2013: Teams who by now are perceived as the two most self-righteous (and thus are among the most loathed) fan bases in MLB.
   42. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: July 16, 2014 at 05:48 PM (#4752289)
2004: The Bosox comeback, plus the Cards' first pennant in 17 years (something often overlooked).
2013: Teams who by now are perceived as the two most self-righteous (and thus are among the most loathed) fan bases in MLB.


I knew the Yanks would start to look good by comparison one of these years. It must be that old Girardi charm.
   43. andrewberg Posted: July 16, 2014 at 06:19 PM (#4752313)
Might we need to take note of the age demographics though? For example, a friend asked me over lunch today if there's another major sport over the past two decades that has been just as inundated with television adverts for Cialis and Viagra.


Are people going to stop needing Cialis and Viagra?

More generally, I agree with those who say that the national audience is more fragmented. Still, as long as people enjoy drinking beer, talking to friends, and eating hot dogs in the sun, I think they will keep buying tickets. The cable revenue/MLBAM revenue issues are fair questions, but not really unique to baseball and they don't impact my enjoyment of the sport.
   44. djordan Posted: July 16, 2014 at 07:55 PM (#4752368)
#10, you're asking all the right questions. The revs are very much about cable & carriage fees.

Carriage fees is the only reason Fox Sports 1 exists.
   45. Walt Davis Posted: July 16, 2014 at 09:10 PM (#4752408)
Even if some of the doomsday scenarios come to pass, what impacts are we really talking about ...

some of the lower revenue teams will be forced out of business ... OK, now we're back down to 24 franchises, not exactly the end of baseball

teams like the Dodgers stop selling for $2 B and go back to selling for $800 M

players and owners make less money; poor Mike Trout has to squeak by on $20 M per year

MLB can support fewer minor-league teams, relies more heavily on college baseball

For some strange reason, none of these apocalyptic scenarios impact the other major sports, soccer booms, fewer talented US kids come into baseball ... still 600 well-paying ML roster spots, DR, Asia, etc.

Seriously, is there any scenario where MLB is in worse shape than the NHL is today?

But what the hell, bring back astroturf, put the OF on skateboards, put a few ramps out there, make style points more important than runs so baseball can attract the precious teen male suburban stoner demographic.

It is obvious that at some point the baseball revenue bubble will burst -- if current trends continue, the entire world's economy will consist of nothing but healthcare, MLB and cafes by 2025 -- but it's the same sort of correction it and every other form of entertainment has periodically gone through since at least WW2.

Or as someone noted above -- how is baseball in worse shape than CNN ... and you can add the movie industry, the music industry, the other sports, network TV, cable TV, book publishing, the beer industry, the wine industry, the spirits industry, the soft drinks industry, the pc industry, two-party politics ... it's a great big, jumbled, fragmented world out there.
   46. cardsfanboy Posted: July 16, 2014 at 09:16 PM (#4752412)
Baseball's Philadelphia Phillies' attendance is down 8,290 per home game from a year ago. Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers, each down more than 4,000. Minnesota Twins, more than 3,000. Detroit Tigers, Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves, Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago White Sox, 2,000-plus.
Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, New York Mets, San Diego Padres, Tampa Bay Rays .... down, down, down, down, down, down, down, down.


League wise teams averaged 30,023 in 2014, and 30,504 in 2013....not really seeing much of a difference.... When one team goes down, another team goes up...
   47. Dan Posted: July 16, 2014 at 09:21 PM (#4752416)
I think there are some interesting questions about what interest in baseball looks like as this generation with reduced little league participation grows up, but football is probably in more trouble in that department as they are probably not far from concussion issues vastly reducing participation in youth football. It will be interesting to see if that in turn causes little league participation to rebound.

To what degree is the lowered LL participation we're currently seeing just a trend of lower group sports participation in today's children?
This article shows youth participation in football, baseball, soccer and basketball are all down.
   48. cardsfanboy Posted: July 16, 2014 at 09:22 PM (#4752417)
If you cry wolf long enough, eventually there will be a wolf. As mentioned up thread, there are some legit concerns about baseball's continuing popularity in America, but this article doesn't make the argument effectively. If I was going to write this article it would probably start with the amount of people under 20 that self report that baseball is their 3rd or 4th favorite sport to follow.


Even that isn't useful, you would need a control group from 20, 40 years ago to even begin a debate on whether it's declining or not. We've all seen X-games be the next big thing, I grew up in the late 70s, and early 80s, and indoor soccer was averaging 15,000 people a game in St Louis and that was the next big thing(and I was a huge fan) and you have the growth of other sports just because people are diversifying their interest, but ultimately in five years time, their little experimentations with their sports is going to be gone, and the decision boils down to the big four, and baseball is going to continue reigning supreme over hockey and basketball(and if you are one of those weirdos that believes soccer is going to be a factor, sure that one too).
   49. cardsfanboy Posted: July 16, 2014 at 09:24 PM (#4752418)
This year's Belmont Stakes drew about 22 million viewers. Despite being in the middle of the day on a Sunday. Last night's All Star Game drew half that


Not in St Louis, since it was pre-empted to watch a thunderstorm and we were told to go watch it on another channel...... Ugh... I'm so pissed about that. I turn my TV on for a non-Cardinal broadcast maybe 5 times in 3 months, and this was one of those times and they pre-empted it for a normal thunderstorm.
   50. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 09:26 PM (#4752419)
Yeah, and do you know what the Belmont Stakes draws when the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes aren't won by the same horse?
   51. BDC Posted: July 16, 2014 at 09:31 PM (#4752423)
I used to be convinced that they'd go to thunder coverage on DFW TV just to keep me from watching Ranger games.
   52. theboyqueen Posted: July 16, 2014 at 10:03 PM (#4752435)
Here in Sacramento, the NHL may as well not exist. Meanwhile our minor league soccer team is drawing 20,000 fans a game.

Ice hockey is very a regional sport. Baseball too seems like a regional sport (most people only care about their team, and I wonder if people in Omaha or New Orleans care about baseball at all), but perhaps the vast minor league network helps with this somewhat. If old, American, white men really are the people spending money on baseball now, that IS a bad trend if only because old, American men in the future are much less likely to be white.
   53. theboyqueen Posted: July 16, 2014 at 10:10 PM (#4752440)
The Sacramento Kings and the Milwaukee Bucks just went for half a billion dollars, so that is the floor for the NBA. How many MLB teams would sell for that much? My guess is maybe half? Maybe I'm way off. It would be interesting to see if a team like the A's or the Rays went on the open market what the price would be.

How many MLB franchises would sell for what the Clippers went for?
   54. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 16, 2014 at 10:11 PM (#4752441)
I wonder if people in Omaha or New Orleans care about baseball at all


That's an odd example.

   55. theboyqueen Posted: July 16, 2014 at 10:17 PM (#4752448)
I mean major league baseball.
   56. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: July 16, 2014 at 10:36 PM (#4752456)
And what's the MLB done to keep on top of the declining numbers? Expanded the game overseas for one.

Does the ridiculous article mention the enormous popularity of Mlb.com and their app which is easily the bet in sports.

Pretty sure baseball will be fine ...
   57. greenback calls it soccer Posted: July 16, 2014 at 11:02 PM (#4752466)
The Sacramento Kings and the Milwaukee Bucks just went for half a billion dollars, so that is the floor for the NBA. How many MLB teams would sell for that much?

Forbes has the Rays at #30 at $485 million. There's a lot of spit-balling in Forbes valuations, but then again they had the Sac Kings and the Mil Bucks going for $550 million and $400 million.

If I had access to a $500 million loan, then I think I would buy the Washington Wizards.
   58. Sunday silence Posted: July 17, 2014 at 12:31 AM (#4752521)
the Belmont stakes is always run on SATURDAY. For god's sake.

There are almost no major stakes races that are run on sundays, but there are a few if I recall. All the famous ones, Ky derby, Preakness, the Breeder's Cup, Santa Anita hdcp, thats all on saturday.
   59. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 17, 2014 at 01:05 AM (#4752529)
Youth participation in Minecraft is way up. This is the sport of the future.
   60. Sunday silence Posted: July 17, 2014 at 01:10 AM (#4752533)
Just think, the televised Hearthstone championship should draw big numbers in 2022.
   61. Hank G. Posted: July 17, 2014 at 01:58 AM (#4752540)
It's easy to point to the millions of similar essays since Chadwick was around that have said baseball is on the verge of dying. But isn't it at least a *tiny* bit possible that someone could make a reasonable argument that could actually be right eventually?


Eventually, our sun will start running out of fuel and expand out to the orbit of Mars. I doubt baseball will survive that.
   62. Walt Davis Posted: July 17, 2014 at 02:09 AM (#4752542)
How many MLB teams would sell for that much?

In addition to #57 the actual San Diego Padres sold for an actual $800 M just a couple of years ago.

The San Diego Padres.

On the the other hand, apparently an NFL team in Los Angeles is worth $0.
   63. Walt Davis Posted: July 17, 2014 at 02:12 AM (#4752543)
All the famous ones, Ky derby, Preakness, the Breeder's Cup, Santa Anita hdcp, thats all on saturday.

I would assume that almost all the old races are because surely it was near universal that local "blue laws" outlawed racing on Sundays.
   64. Dolf Lucky Posted: July 17, 2014 at 07:35 AM (#4752563)
To what degree is the lowered LL participation we're currently seeing just a trend of lower group sports participation in today's children?
This article shows youth participation in football, baseball, soccer and basketball are all down.


The article is behind a paywall, but I would guess that each sport's participation levels are down, but overall sport participation is flat or increased. My 9 year old son, who is not an elite athlete, has opportunities to play baseball from April 1 through October 31 in suburban Connecticut, without having to resort to extortionary travel teams. Why even feign interest in youth soccer?
   65. BDC Posted: July 17, 2014 at 08:32 AM (#4752576)
the actual San Diego Padres sold for an actual $800 M just a couple of years ago

This suggests to me that if MLB is fixing to run into a crisis, it will be more a financial one than a genuine cultural shift. National major-league baseball could plug along at a far more modest level than today's – in fact it did perfectly well just a few years ago. You don't have to have thousand-dollar moat seats or middle relievers making $1M a year to run a successful sport. But retrenchment would mean that the value of franchises stops appreciating astronomically, which is one of the assumptions in the current structure.
   66. just plain joe Posted: July 17, 2014 at 08:53 AM (#4752587)
I would assume that almost all the old races are because surely it was near universal that local "blue laws" outlawed racing on Sundays.


Yes, until relatively recently horse racing tracks were always "dark" on Sundays; no gambling on the Sabbath and all that.
   67. Ron J2 Posted: July 17, 2014 at 09:08 AM (#4752591)
#62 Not quite. An empty LA has to be worth a fair amount to the league as a whole. New stadium extortions basically rely on a viable open market.
   68. zack Posted: July 17, 2014 at 09:51 AM (#4752612)
This year's Belmont Stakes drew about 22 million viewers. Despite being in the middle of the day on a Sunday.

I'm not sure the Belmont stakes is at all relevant for MLB. For one, it was a heavily, heavily promoted one-time event. That lasted on 45 minutes (with 3 minutes of action, so the peak numbers vs sustained viewers would be interesting). And it was with a triple-crown threat. And it was the second highest-rated ever, blowing away last year (7 million) and the last triple crown threat (13 million), so who knows if that is representative. Also it was a Saturday and the final numbers were 20.6m.

Baseball is fine. I love hockey, but hockey has absolutely 0 cultural penetration in the US compared to baseball, not even a fraction of a percent. And they just made $4B dollars.
   69. TJ Posted: July 17, 2014 at 10:07 AM (#4752625)
I'm sure baseball could never survive the loss of such stars and role models as Rivera and Jeter to retirement in such a short time. Oh, you say Willie Mays, Al Kaline, Harmon Killebrew, Frank Robinson, and Hank Aaron all retired over a three-year period? (Extend it to five and you get Ernie Banks and the tragic death of Roberto Clemente). Never mind...

I must admit that I was always excited when the Yankees came to town on the 40% chance that I might see Mariano Rivera pitch one inning in a game my home team lost...
   70. puck Posted: July 17, 2014 at 11:42 AM (#4752712)
I must admit that I was always excited when the Yankees came to town on the 40% chance that I might see Mariano Rivera pitch one inning in a game my home team lost...

Plus you get to hear that song that you'd otherwise never get to hear.
   71. Pingu Posted: July 17, 2014 at 12:14 PM (#4752769)
Walt in #45 pretty much nailed it.

How is 17 out of 30 teams with declining attendance relevant? If it was 25 out of 30, maybe.

And call me crazy but I'd much rather watch Trout or Stanton than prime-years Jeter and I'd much rather watch Kimbrel or Chapman than prime years Rivera. Baseball isn't a game about the stars. People go to an NBA game when Lebron is in town. People go to a MLB game when their favorite team or a division rival or a really good team is in town. The only person I can recall going to a game specifically to see was Pedro.
   72. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 17, 2014 at 12:28 PM (#4752782)
I think Griffey is the only player I came out to see, and that's when I was a kid. As an adult, I only come out to see my team.

Mo Rivera? Give me a break, he's a great player, but no one comes out to the park to see a freakin' reliever.
   73. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 17, 2014 at 12:54 PM (#4752797)
Mike Trout is worth paying to see when he comes to your town, and any of the game's very best starting pitchers. That's about it.
   74. BDC Posted: July 17, 2014 at 01:03 PM (#4752807)
I have gone out to see several HOFers in their last pass through whatever city I was near. I saw Willie Mays that way. In later years I went out to various parks in hopes of seeing Reggie Jackson, Wade Boggs, and Mike Piazza, but none of them got into the game on the day I was there. I truly am going out to see Derek Jeter the week after next in Arlington. He'll probably end up sitting that night, too :(

Pitching matchups are harder, because I tend to make plans early. I lucked into matchups like Seaver/Carlton, Carlton/Gooden, and Ryan/Clemens over the years. I think starter matchups ain't what they used to be, because CGs are so rare and dueling CGs even rarer. I did get to see Darvish/Hernandez earlier this year, and it was a fine matchup.
   75. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 17, 2014 at 01:03 PM (#4752808)
I'm going to see the Reds in early August. I'm more excited to see Billy Hamilton play than anyone I can ever remember seeing at the ballpark.



   76. TJ Posted: July 17, 2014 at 01:37 PM (#4752846)
Is there a star player of today you’d go out of your way to see?

“Hey, Felix Hernandez is in town!” “You wanna go to the ballpark tonight and see Adam Wainwright?”

Those are your All-Star starting pitchers. Would you recognize either one if you saw him coming toward you on the street?


1. No, but if a buddy called and said, "Hey, the Cardinals are in town and Wainwright's pitching, do you wanna go?" I would say yes and be excited about seeing a very good team play with their ace starting...

2. No, I wouldn't recognize Wainwright or King Felix if they were walking down the street. I also would not have recognized the following: Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, Bob Feller, Lefty Grove, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, or Grover Cleveland Alexander, since A) they probably wouldn't be walking down the streets of my neighborhood, and B) they wouldn't be wearing their uniform if they were. (OK, I might have recognized Randy Johnson...)
   77. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: July 17, 2014 at 01:56 PM (#4752871)
The only person I can recall going to a game specifically to see was Pedro.

I once took a train from DC to Philly, thinking I was going to see Koufax, and wound up seeing Joe Moeller and Claude Osteen instead. I guess I should have realized that Koufax only worked on two days rest in the World Series, and not in July. OTOH Connie Mack was a great ####### ballpark, and it was the only time I ever got to see a game there.
   78. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 17, 2014 at 01:58 PM (#4752874)
I also would not have recognized the following: Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, Bob Feller, Lefty Grove, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, or Grover Cleveland Alexander, since A) they probably wouldn't be walking down the streets of my neighborhood, and B) they wouldn't be wearing their uniform if they were. (OK, I might have recognized Randy Johnson...)

And C) some of them are dead, and probably look all decayed and skeletal.
   79. BDC Posted: July 17, 2014 at 02:03 PM (#4752883)
No mistaking John Lackey, though.
   80. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: July 17, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4752896)
No mistaking John Lackey, though.

You got that right.
   81. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 17, 2014 at 03:10 PM (#4752970)
I'm a casual NFL fan, and the only NFL players I think I would recognize walking down the street are Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, and maybe Russell Wilson, RGIII and Colin whatshisface in San Fran. I don't think I'd even recognize the Chiefs QB or their best player Jamaal Charles.
   82. Walt Davis Posted: July 17, 2014 at 07:23 PM (#4753231)
This suggests to me that if MLB is fixing to run into a crisis, it will be more a financial one

I think this is right and we've seen hints of that. The Cubs, Dodgers and Rangers have all been involved in bankruptcy and other shenanigans. The Mets obviously came very close and probably needed bailing out by MLB. I think it was the Padres that were also mixed up in a divorce. But in those bankruptcy cases, it was because of the owners' other "assets" going bust, the MLB teams were one of the few real assets they had left.

We're also seeing more creative financing stuff -- as we are everywhere of course but they are riskier. And whatever strange deal that Ricketts/Trib struck for the Cubs that is possibly limiting what the Cubs can currently spend on payroll. How long before the MLBPA pension fund is in "crisis"?

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