Live Streaming Hitting Baseball Attendance Hard

Baseball is known as “Americas’ pastime” and rightfully so. Even though the game has evolved over the years, the number of people attending Major League Baseball games has continued to drop. The table provided below shows just how much in the past few years. My question is why?

Baseball-MLB Attendance: % by Frequency of Attending
Item 2011 2012 2013 2014
Total Number of MLB Fans Attending Games 41.766,000 36,802,000 37,053,000 37,441,000
1time/yr. 42.4 38.4 39.5 38.3
2-3 times/yr. 37.4 35.1 35.7 34.1
4+ times/yr. 20.2 26.5 24.8 27.5
Total 100 100 100 100
Source: SBRnet / Tag: Professional Sports, Frequent

Live Streaming To Blame?

Could the introduction of live streaming over the internet be the reason that attendance at Major League Baseball games is consistently falling? I believe that in this day and age people are more willing to buy a subscription to a certain TV provider or to a broadcast company for live streaming capabilities than to go to an actual game because of their busier lives. Now you don’t even have to leave your house or office to experience watching a game live. This is a more appealing and easier way to watch a game than to pack the car up, drive to wherever the stadium is, find a parking spot, walk to the stadium, pay for concessions, watch the game and sometimes extra innings, then drive all the way back home during the night, and then get up the next day and go to work. Technology just makes it easier to stay in and watch the game in the comfort of your own home and know that you will have plenty of rest for the next day.

Millennials Too Impatient?

We all know how baseball games can seem to drag on and on. This is a big problem for MLB since their future constituents have shorter attention spans than the generations before them. The millennials are known for having shorter attention spans and wanting things instantly. This is also why social media companies like Vine and Instagram are doing so well with their shorter video formats. You can only record for about six or seven seconds so this way you have to fit a ton of information into a small time slot.  So with baseball being such a slow game, they are going to have a huge problem with retaining fans at games. They have made many steps towards speeding up the pace of the game like pitcher warm up timers, batters must stay in the box, and managers can’t leave the dugouts. All of these were made to help speed up the game but as we can see, it still isn’t working.

Something else must be done to help speed up the game of baseball or else it will continue to lose fans and it will not be as successful as it once was. Should they reduce the number of innings? Should they speed up pitch clocks even more? What are your opinions on this?

This blog post was written by Samford University student Ryan Hughes. You can learn more about Ryan Hughes at https://www.linkedin.com/pub/ryan-hughes/b8/a89/54a

Citations:

Graph: (n.d.). Retrieved July 31, 2015, from http://www.sbrnet.com.ezproxy.samford.edu/research.aspx?subrid=521

Picture: (n.d.). Retrieved July 31, 2015, from http://www.sptimes.com/News/051201/photos/spts-empty.jpg

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