The comparison of baseball to the N.F.L., in cities like Pittsburgh and the country as a whole, is never far from the surface. The notion that football rules and baseball is passé has persisted for decades, never mind that the fundamental difference in the sports — the schedules — invalidates the premise.
One sport has 16 games and plays once a week. The other has 162 games and plays almost every day. Both are fascinating and fun to watch, and loyalties are passed down through generations. The one with 10 times the scarcity, naturally, has higher ratings and draws bigger crowds to its individual games. The one with more dates to sell, naturally, has more total viewers and ticket buyers, taking the entire schedule into account. Those who bash baseball forget the second part.
Baseball has problems, like every industry. It may not have a transcendent, crossover star in his prime — think Tom Brady or LeBron James — but, again, consider the nature of the sport. The positional equivalent of the quarterback, the starting pitcher, changes every day. And even the best hitters come to bat only once per nine players through the order. Basketball stars, in theory, can shoot every trip down the court.
The point is that baseball is a different game that defies traditional comparisons. In every way besides national postseason television ratings, the game is thriving, and the real effect of those low ratings is generally overstated. Last year, baseball reached an eight-year deal with Fox, ESPN and TBS for its national rights fees. The value of that contract was $12.4 billion, a 100 percent increase over the previous deal.
Posted: October 06, 2013 at 08:11 AM | 32 comment(s)
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