Wednesday, November 24, 2010

3 reasons MLB ratings will stay low

When the Jaguars - Titans Monday Night Football game brought in more viewers than the Yankees ALCS it was clear baseball ratings are falling. Here are my 3 reasons why they won't be substantially climbing anytime soon:

1. Late Games
Having the start time of the playoff games in primetime probably seemed like a good idea, and probably even worked well for the first 10 years; after that generations of viewers started to change. The most important innings of the most exciting games in Red Sox history were after midnight. I happened to be at the perfect age (mid-twenties) and didn't mind one bit- was even at game 7 in NY - but my father stopped staying up. Now that I have kids, when they start getting older I won't be sitting down watching the Sox with them at that time. I think a lot of those kids have already grown up and never got into baseball like their parents had from their parents, etc...

2. Too slow
Part of being too slow has nothing to do with MLB itself, but rather a new mobile/instant/multitasking generation. While txting, watching TV, and on the Laptop - many younger adults find the games far too slow to watch. All the important highlights will be available as soon as it's over online anyway - in 30 seconds. I remember when the morning paper was the only way I could find a box-score, and if I wanted to see the highlights I had to get up early to watch the local news station. We can now get ESPN and others whenever we want.
The annoying part on MLB is their futile attempts at speeding up the games. Way back batters never stepped out of the box between pitches; Pitchers now take enough time between pitches that they show in-game advertising. There is no reason a 2-1 Yanks/Sox game can/should take almost 4 hrs. wtf.

3. The Yankees
Being a Die-hard (or perhaps former) Red Sox fan, I take pleasure and blaming the Yankees for basically anything, but hear me out. MLB let the Yankees take over baseball. Perhaps because rating go up when they win, and down when they aren't even in the race. Similar to the Steelers, there are generations of fans all over the country that root for them. I'm sure rating are up when the Cowboys get a chance at the Super Bowl, but the NFL is smart enough to not let them have an advantage. For 10-15 years virtually every good free agent becomes a Yank (or a Sock). It is a joke. Actually rather lame they don't win 50% of the time. Every other team has become a JV team to the Yankees (I'll get to the Sox). One year they get beat in the playoffs by a great new pitcher - the day after the talk is about how he'll be on the Yanks next year. They no longer need a farm team - the rest of the league is just that. How can you root for your local team (i.e. Baltimore) if they have virtually no chance of winning before the season starts. Yes I know teams like the Giants have won which has kept the viewers up a bit, but even with that staying a die-hard fan is hard when you have to hope none of your players get too good - b/c they get bought.
Which two teams every year have the highest attendance on the road? Wonder why? because people like to have a chance that their team wins. What is the cheapest way to go to a Red Sox home game? A. drive to Baltimore or Toronto. The main reason the Red Sox have been able to stay in the buy-race is because no matter how many years they lost in-a-row die-hards kept filling the seats. Boston is one of the few places that have been able to compete with the Yankees spending, but only because the fans kept going. So in my mind Boston has been fighting to save baseball, as the Yanks have been destroying it. haha. But seriously I turned on game 5 of the ALCS 8th inning with the Yankees down 4 runs. There were about 500 people in the stadium - out of what 65k. Are you kidding me? How many times just this year alone did the Yanks score 4 runs in an inning? You would have thought it was 25-0 with two outs in the 9th and it was the Cubs (which still would have had >50% of their fans there). You won't see that in Boston - but what does that tell you. Even Yankee fans are bored. They left talking about how next year they'll get Lee and show them all.