Is America’s pastime becoming a thing of the past? Baseball is currently the nation’s second-favorite sport, trailing only football. Despite this ranking, most baseball economists are reporting that baseball game attendance and popularity is on a steady decline.
Unless Major League Baseball (MLB) does something to gain the attention of modern viewers, it’s not going to fair well (popularity-wise) in the years to come.
A report released May 29th, 2013, shows that MLB game attendance had declined 2.9 percent. Some teams saw more declines in attendance than others. For instance, the Houston Astros saw attendance fall a whopping 20.9 percent, while the Dodgers saw an incredible 11 percent surge in attendees. Just what are the Dodgers doing that other teams, such as the Astros, aren’t?
Ushering In A New Era for Major League Baseball
In the 21st century; a time of shortened attention spans and technology-obsessions, skinny-jeans and mocha-latte-Frappuccino’s, Castle and the App Store, smart phones, laptops, and tablets; times are fresh because new technologies are being created to transform our boredom. All Americans have something interesting to do nowadays. All this modern fun could spell disaster for activities that are dated, or seem outdated.
Perhaps baseball is losing its popularity because it hasn’t changed over the years. It’s remained the same, and isn’t shifting with the times. Of course, the way the sport is played shouldn’t change, but how Major League Baseball connects with fans should.
Ways to bring baseball into the 21st century
- Create more apps that resonate with younger audience
- Make baseball cool again; use technology and random giveaways to inspire game attendance
- Offer more virtual ways to view games instead of airing them only on television
The MLB Needs to Work Harder to Inspire Children
“When it comes to changing and adapting, baseball is holding on to a failing concept that the sport is already perfect,” writes Cork Gaines, a sports contributor at Business Insider. “Instead of trying to appeal to a younger audience, they continue to cater to the older diehard fans that would never abandon the sport.”
Unfortunately for the MLB, their older fans will abandon the sport when they enter the grave. And, who is going to be there to usher in another year of baseball fandom? If Major League Baseball isn’t already nurturing a younger audience, there may be no one left. This is a bleak future for America’s pastime, but it doesn’t have to go down like that.
Two things can be done to cater to the younger generation
- Air games at a reasonable time
- Teach children to play baseball
“Two generations of children have grown up in an era when televised postseason games routinely end after midnight for much of the population. And, far fewer children are playing baseball today than they were 15 years ago,” writes AZ Central’s sports columnist, Dan Bickley.
Major League Baseball should encourage young baseball players to learn the game, play the game and attend the MLB games. If they got involved with local sports, such as Little League Baseball, they’d resonate in the minds of children and inspire children to tune into games.
Moreover, donating items, such as a line of bats or branded uniforms, will inspire and motivate a younger generation of baseball fans. The changing landscape is requiring that new fans be created and inspired, and what better way than to get actually involved with youth sports and culture?
If the MLB hopes to survive the millennial generation, it’s going to have to relate to this new, modern world. Baseball needs to become relatable again, and that means relating to the kids because they’re the future’s ticket buyers. When baseball becomes popular with the children, game attendance will rise.