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DumpJerry
10-29-2012, 08:31 PM
It's really no secret that the World Series does not garner the interest it did in the past. Other than die-hard baseball fans, there was very little buzz (or even knowledge) of the Series among people.

Jon Heyman was on The Score this morning talking about this. He said that the Series has become a hometown series where almost all of the interest is contained in the two cities represented. One thing he pointed out was that there are no day games any more during the World Series. Game IV last night started at 8:00 and ended around 11:00. It was a school night, so young kids could not fully enjoy the game.

What do people think needs to be done to make the World Series relevant again? I remember growing up in the 60's and 70's and when the World Series was on, everyone tuned in regardless of the teams involved. It can't be that the Series competes with Football, because there has been NFL football in October for almost 100 years now. It can't be for lack of general interest because making the Series is Topic A for fans of almost all MLB teams from November until their team is eliminated in August/September the next year.

I think day games on the weekends would go a long way. This would allow younger fans to get involved and more committed to the Series as they grow up. I also think the extended playoff schedule is a buzz kill. Right now, the only pro sport whose championship game garners widespread interest is the NFL with the Super Bowl. The NBA and NHL have extended playoffs with so many teams, they feel like regular season games. I think MLB has fallen into the same trap. With extended playoffs, the specialness of the World Series become anti-climatic because most casual fans have hit their saturation point. After all, once we're done with 162 games, there is a potential for another twenty games which is more than 10% of the regular season.

Having two divisions where the division champs play a best of five to go to the World Series would keep post season interest high. Of course, the owners would never put the genie back in the bottle because it would reduce revenues in the short term until people rediscover baseball.

Lip Man 1
10-29-2012, 08:49 PM
MLB is partially to blame for this issue. When it's all Yankee-Red Sox, all the time regardless of whether or not you give a damn, it has an impact.

When those teams don't get to the series a vast amount of the baseball fan base is rather ho-hum, who cares...."who are these Giants? Never heard of half the guys playing for Cincinnati" and so forth.

MLB needs to start promoting and representing all teams, even garbage ones like Kansas City and Houston. If Fox doesn't like it (or ESPN) MLB needs to explain who is running the show. I understand the networks have a say in things given the money they are spending but you can't fall on your knees every single time they ask for something.

Bob Grim has told me about the things the Sox have to do at times for ESPN when they televise a game and I've got to tell you, it's a wonder Bob and his people don't tell them to go **** themselves.

Lip

PaleHoser
10-29-2012, 08:55 PM
IMO, three developments have killed interest in the World Series:

1. Interleague play. The World Series is no longer special, particularly when it can be a rematch of a series played during the regular season.
2. Expanded playoffs. Either the Division Series round or the fact that the League Championship Series is also seven games. Pick your poison.
3. Fox television. I'd rather listen to nails on a chalkboard than Buck and McCarver.

I think it's sad that they can't play World Series baseball on a Saturday afternoon. MLB may be too scared to see that the SEC game of the week would have higher ratings.

mzh
10-29-2012, 09:00 PM
Bob Grim has told me about the things the Sox have to do at times for ESPN when they televise a game and I've got to tell you, it's a wonder Bob and his people don't tell them to go **** themselves.

Lip
What do you mean, Lip? Something in the way of having to brief the guys on all the players, coaches, what's been going on lately, etc?

DumpJerry
10-29-2012, 09:24 PM
MLB is partially to blame for this issue. When it's all Yankee-Red Sox, all the time regardless of whether or not you give a damn, it has an impact.

When those teams don't get to the series a vast amount of the baseball fan base is rather ho-hum, who cares...."who are these Giants? Never heard of half the guys playing for Cincinnati" and so forth.

MLB needs to start promoting and representing all teams, even garbage ones like Kansas City and Houston. If Fox doesn't like it (or ESPN) MLB needs to explain who is running the show. I understand the networks have a say in things given the money they are spending but you can't fall on your knees every single time they ask for something.

Bob Grim has told me about the things the Sox have to do at times for ESPN when they televise a game and I've got to tell you, it's a wonder Bob and his people don't tell them to go **** themselves.

Lip

I think you have some very valid points here. Whenever you watch a national NFL show, especially on Sunday morning, you would be hard pressed to figure out which teams are the most popular nation-wide. They talk about each team in the same terms. The 1-6 teams get coverage as much as the 6-1 teams. This allows the casual fan (i.e., the one who does not spend many hours each week on football sites reading up on the players and teams and reading all the football publications that are out there) to easily get working knowledge of each team. Also by having numerous teams on MNF, there isn't that "Yankees/Red Sox again" feeling on Monday nght and each team gets at least one turn on Thursday night also helps spread out the knowledge.

What do you mean, Lip? Something in the way of having to brief the guys on all the players, coaches, what's been going on lately, etc?
All teams west of New York/ Boston are required to provide GPS coordinates for their ballpark locations.

Brian26
10-29-2012, 09:26 PM
It's really no secret that the World Series does not garner the interest it did in the past. Other than die-hard baseball fans, there was very little buzz (or even knowledge) of the Series among people.

I think part of the problem is that people now have more entertainment options at home. Before satellite/cable, most people were lucky to have a half dozen channels. Casual fans would watch the World Series just because it was on. Now, there are hundreds of channels, internet, dvr, on demand movies, etc.

MLB is partially to blame for this issue. When it's all Yankee-Red Sox, all the time regardless of whether or not you give a damn, it has an impact.

I'm not sure I've ever bought into this line of thinking. In the late 70s, baseball was all about the Dodgers and Yankees. In the mid 80s, it was the Cardinals and Mets. I think that particular problem, or at least the perception of the problem, has always existed.

central44
10-29-2012, 09:31 PM
I think you have some very valid points here. Whenever you watch a national NFL show, especially on Sunday morning, you would be hard pressed to figure out which teams are the most popular nation-wide. They talk about each team in the same terms. The 1-6 teams get coverage as much as the 6-1 teams. This allows the casual fan (i.e., the one who does not spend many hours each week on football sites reading up on the players and teams and reading all the football publications that are out there) to easily get working knowledge of each team. Also by having numerous teams on MNF, there isn't that "Yankees/Red Sox again" feeling on Monday nght and each team gets at least one turn on Thursday night also helps spread out the knowledge.


This is absolutley huge and a major part if the issue, IMO.

I don't think it's a reflection of the Series itself as much as a reflection of the state of the game. People aren't really interested in baseball as a whole--the fanbases are much more localized. Most people like to follow their own team, and when their team is eliminated they lose interest.


It's not a huge, world-stopping event like the Super Bowl, and the players aren't marketed the way they are in the NBA--casual fans are less likely to tune in to watch Miguel Cabrera as opposed to Lebron James. Most fans who don't follow baseball religiously probably have no idea who Miguel Cabrera even is, or Matt Cain, etc.

That's my theory, anyway. But as long as places like ESPN spend all of their time fixated on the Yankees/Red Sox, it will be hard for the casual fan to care about a matchup like Detroit/San Francisco.

Irishsox1
10-29-2012, 11:03 PM
If you want the worlds series to be "relevant" like it was in the 60's and 70's, make only 5 channels available on TV, get rid of video games, the internet, cell phones, DVR, DVD's and computers.

Also, the world series wasn't as popular as many think it was back then. Most world series games were day games.

samurai_sox
10-30-2012, 12:34 AM
I hate the thread title, the World Series has always been relevant, if others don't want to watch, screw 'em!

I'm always tuned in every October.

DSpivack
10-30-2012, 12:58 AM
I hate the thread title, the World Series has always been relevant, if others don't want to watch, screw 'em!

I'm always tuned in every October.

I agree. Baseball is the 2nd most popular sport, and TV revenue has never been higher. The health of the sport is perfectly fine.

palehozenychicty
10-30-2012, 01:01 AM
I think the only feasible way is to shorten the LCS to 5 games and keep everything else intact. The play-in game earned a lot of buzz from people, and revenue, so it's not going away until Selig leaves the post. The postseason is too long. The casual fan seems to move on from baseball after the middle of October, especially if the local team is out of it.

I, personally, would shorten the regular season to 145 games. But we all know that owners will never unilaterally go for it. They will also never return to two divisions per league, even if that is the best way to maintain excitement and get the best postseason teams.

SephClone89
10-30-2012, 06:53 AM
The World Series does seem to be the domain of diehard fans in a way that the Super Bowl (obviously) and even the NBA finals aren't.

I've found that more casual baseball fans or general sports fans actually do have more interest in the early rounds of the postseason, and by the end of the month are kind of burnt out.

aryzner
10-30-2012, 08:03 AM
I know plenty of people who really do watch the Super Bowl just because of the commercials.

Clearly, the World Series needs the same outrageous commercials that the Super Bowl has. :D:

WhiffleBall
10-30-2012, 08:22 AM
Even with the low ratings this years WS was the 9th most watched prime time program on television in 2012 and the 2nd most watched prime time program in the sought after 18-49 male demographic.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/sns-rt-us-worldseries-ratingsbre89s1cj-20121029,0,6811243.story

Moses_Scurry
10-30-2012, 09:08 AM
Is it really any worse for baseball than any other sport with the exception of the Superbowl? Once the Bulls, Blackhawks, or Sox are out of it, I pretty much tune out. Yeah if there is a great story as in if the Orioles had made it this year, I'll tune in, but my interest will still be pretty low.

And really, a large majority of people watching the Superbowl who aren't fans of one of the teams are just watching it because of peripheral things.

Maybe the MLB needs to have some over-the-hill performer do a 10 minute medley of their hits during the seventh inning stretch each game. And have really funny commercials. That'll do it.

Really the only championship I'll watch with a lot of interest without my favorite team involved is the NCAA basketball championship. I don't know why that and not the others. Maybe because I don't really have a favorite college team since I went to Western Illinois University who doesn't appear in any major championships.

wassagstdu
10-30-2012, 09:15 AM
The World Series once matched the two "best" teams in baseball, or the best team in each league, as determined by performance over a whole season. Now it matches the two teams that are best "this week." At least one of those teams was often a marginal performer over the entire season but got hot at the right time. Who cares other than the fans of those teams.

Also, by the time you come to the seventh do-or-die series in three weeks, the thrill is gone.

The full season has lost its transcendent importance, and the postseason is just a second season, more disappointing than the first for all but one team and its fans.

That said, who cares as long as baseball remains financially viable and we can "appreciate the game," or whatever the slogan was this year?

Huisj
10-30-2012, 09:38 AM
Really the only championship I'll watch with a lot of interest without my favorite team involved is the NCAA basketball championship. I don't know why that and not the others. Maybe because I don't really have a favorite college team since I went to Western Illinois University who doesn't appear in any major championships.

To me, part of the interest in the NCAA tournament is the speed at which it happens. 64 (or 68 i guess) down to a championship game in 3 weeks with every game being an elimination game. There's suspense constantly, and the combination of speed that it moves at with the few days off for a breather in between weekends gives it a perfect rhythm that keeps people interested to the end.

doublem23
10-30-2012, 09:41 AM
To me, part of the interest in the NCAA tournament is the speed at which it happens. 64 (or 68 i guess) down to a championship game in 3 weeks with every game being an elimination game. There's suspense constantly, and the combination of speed that it moves at with the few days off for a breather in between weekends gives it a perfect rhythm that keeps people interested to the end.

That and gambling

DumpJerry
10-30-2012, 10:26 AM
I agree. Baseball is the 2nd most popular sport, and TV revenue has never been higher. The health of the sport is perfectly fine.

Even with the low ratings this years WS was the 9th most watched prime time program on television in 2012 and the 2nd most watched prime time program in the sought after 18-49 male demographic.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/sns-rt-us-worldseries-ratingsbre89s1cj-20121029,0,6811243.story
Record low television ratings this year (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/world-series-averages-record-low-television-rating-215611802--mlb.html). The revenues are from the contract MLB signed with Fox, not the ratings. Fox was probably banking on one of the "national" teams (Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs) making it during the contract term. I would not be surprised to see Fox try to break the contract if they feel MLB is not promoting the Series enough to generate interest in it.

doublem23
10-30-2012, 10:38 AM
Record low television ratings this year (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/world-series-averages-record-low-television-rating-215611802--mlb.html). The revenues are from the contract MLB signed with Fox, not the ratings. Fox was probably banking on one of the "national" teams (Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs) making it during the contract term. I would not be surprised to see Fox try to break the contract if they feel MLB is not promoting the Series enough to generate interest in it.

How the 2012 World Series ratings compare to the 1960 ratings is completely irrelevant. All that matters is how the Series compares to contemporary programming and, as was noted, it was still a major TV event for Fox who, by the way, just inked that huge TV deal during this season. The thought that they'd try to back out now, only a few months into the deal is so completely and utterly stupid, that I am guessing you just were too lazy to type that sentence in teal.

TheOldRoman
10-30-2012, 10:42 AM
I'm not sure I've ever bought into this line of thinking. In the late 70s, baseball was all about the Dodgers and Yankees. In the mid 80s, it was the Cardinals and Mets. I think that particular problem, or at least the perception of the problem, has always existed.
I wasn't alive in the '70s, so I can't say for sure. Maybe my memories of the '90s are clouded because I was still young. However, baseball coverage (ESPN) took a HUGE turn towards Yankees/Red Sox 24/7 around the turn of the century. In the '90s the Indians were a small market team which had huge national appeal. Of course, we haven't had a small market team come out and dominate a division while winning two pennants and having many superstar players since then, so there is no true comparison. I don't think those Indians would be hyped up as much in this day. Casual fans don't know stars unless they play for their team or a division rival. Who the hell is Joey Votto? Half of baseball fans today probably couldn't tell you because his great play is not highlighted. He's not exactly doing what Griffey did on a small-market Mariners team in the '90s, but he is still doing great in obscurity. Justin Verlander is the best pitcher in baseball, and on national commercials, but I would venture to bet the average casual Rockies or Padres fans couldn't pick him out of a lineup. ESPN spends the entire season telling us that the Yankees and Red Sox are the only teams which matter, then everybody is flummoxed when neither team makes it and the ratings are down.

Another thing is, I think Fox has been terrible for the sport. Their coverage seems reluctant at best. "Well, here ya go. Baseball, I guess. Hey! In the stands there's a guy from one of our soon-to-be-cancelled sitcoms. Uhh, we will have football games on Sunday!" They went from trying to make a half-assed splash with KEWL robotic sounds and crap years ago, to now not even pretending to care. Hell, they don't even have baseball-specific theme music anymore. They use the "hard hitting" Fox NFL music, which is an awkward fit at best. Joe Buck is one of the worst announcers in sports, and he surely doesn't bring excitement to things. He said something along the lings of he doesn't consider baseball interesting, and it shows from his broadcasting. His disdain is apparent. It hate Fox's presentation of baseball. I don't think they have done anything to "grow" the sport. Put the playoffs on a different network. Have the announcers wear tuxedos just to show the world series is a BIG DEAL. Have advertising hyping up the World Series as a huge baseball event, not just part of "Foxtober! Big 12 football, NFL football, and then baseball at night!"

TheOldRoman
10-30-2012, 10:48 AM
They will also never return to two divisions per league, even if that is the best way to maintain excitement and get the best postseason teams.Actually, that is one of the worst things they can do at this point. The wildcard has made a lot of teams relevant. Teams who otherwise would be out of it in early August because someone is running away with their division. It brought a lot of people to the park in many cities. Also, fans don't care about "the best teams" making it. They care when the Yankees and Red Sox don't make it, but they don't really care about whether or not a wild card team makes it in. In fact, the wildcard has brought excitement and unpredictability to the sport. If the best team always won, it would be pretty boring. As grating as it might be for the Cadinals to catch fire, squeak in and win it all, it is compelling having them go through the "best rotation ever" in Philadelphia and then the power packed Rangers, the two teams who were the consensus best teams in baseball.

amsteel
10-30-2012, 11:14 AM
For the WS the average age of the viewer was over 50 years old. Younger generations don't like baseball as much as NBA, NFL, and possibly NCAA football.

Anyone around my age (late 20s-early 30s) grew up in the age of Micheal Jordan, the 94 MLB strike, and Madden video game football. The only good thing baseball has had all to itself in the last 20 years is the 98 home run chase. And even that turned out to be BS.

amsteel
10-30-2012, 11:16 AM
That and gambling

Legitimate question: Is the rise in interest in the NFL, NBA, and NCAA football and basketball due to increased access to gambling?

Baseball and hockey are terrible sports to bet on. Coincidence?

Lip Man 1
10-30-2012, 11:23 AM
This column from a few years ago touches somewhat on the points being brought up in this thread. Might be worth a re-read to you:

http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/rwas/index.php?category=2&id=3016

Lip

WhiffleBall
10-30-2012, 11:26 AM
Have the announcers wear tuxedos just to show the world series is a BIG DEAL.

Twinkle and Stink at your service:

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mc6u6g4jYL1qhbu9to1_500.jpg

FielderJones
10-30-2012, 12:17 PM
I think you have some very valid points here. Whenever you watch a national NFL show, especially on Sunday morning, you would be hard pressed to figure out which teams are the most popular nation-wide. They talk about each team in the same terms. The 1-6 teams get coverage as much as the 6-1 teams. This allows the casual fan (i.e., the one who does not spend many hours each week on football sites reading up on the players and teams and reading all the football publications that are out there) to easily get working knowledge of each team. Also by having numerous teams on MNF, there isn't that "Yankees/Red Sox again" feeling on Monday nght and each team gets at least one turn on Thursday night also helps spread out the knowledge.


This is key. NFL markets all their teams, and so are not reliant on media darlings to make the playoffs relevant. MLB dropped the ball into the lap of ESPN, which has no interest in marketing 30 teams. The Fox postseason broadcasting team is a disaster.

Most NFL regular season programming is on network television, but most MLB regular season programming is on local cable. It's easy for the casual fan to follow out-of-market NFL teams, but you have to get a package to follow out-of-market MLB teams.

34 Inch Stick
10-30-2012, 12:37 PM
I have always thought that having any part of the playoffs on cable tv is bad for creating interest. The World Series should be the final act in the drama of the baseball championship tournament. However, you are asking a small but significant portion of the population to drop in at the end of the show after all the character development has taken place. Even within the group of cable holders, TBS is not a primary choice for those casually interested in sports. The early round games take an affirmative effort on the part of viewers to find which is an impediment to maximizing viewing.

If I were MLB, I would be willing to take a little bit of hit in profits to get these games on CBS, NBC or ABC with Fox running a distant 4th and ESPN/MLBTV being used for complimentary coverage.

JB98
10-30-2012, 12:40 PM
I wasn't alive in the '70s, so I can't say for sure. Maybe my memories of the '90s are clouded because I was still young. However, baseball coverage (ESPN) took a HUGE turn towards Yankees/Red Sox 24/7 around the turn of the century. In the '90s the Indians were a small market team which had huge national appeal. Of course, we haven't had a small market team come out and dominate a division while winning two pennants and having many superstar players since then, so there is no true comparison. I don't think those Indians would be hyped up as much in this day. Casual fans don't know stars unless they play for their team or a division rival. Who the hell is Joey Votto? Half of baseball fans today probably couldn't tell you because his great play is not highlighted. He's not exactly doing what Griffey did on a small-market Mariners team in the '90s, but he is still doing great in obscurity. Justin Verlander is the best pitcher in baseball, and on national commercials, but I would venture to bet the average casual Rockies or Padres fans couldn't pick him out of a lineup. ESPN spends the entire season telling us that the Yankees and Red Sox are the only teams which matter, then everybody is flummoxed when neither team makes it and the ratings are down.

Another thing is, I think Fox has been terrible for the sport. Their coverage seems reluctant at best. "Well, here ya go. Baseball, I guess. Hey! In the stands there's a guy from one of our soon-to-be-cancelled sitcoms. Uhh, we will have football games on Sunday!" They went from trying to make a half-assed splash with KEWL robotic sounds and crap years ago, to now not even pretending to care. Hell, they don't even have baseball-specific theme music anymore. They use the "hard hitting" Fox NFL music, which is an awkward fit at best. Joe Buck is one of the worst announcers in sports, and he surely doesn't bring excitement to things. He said something along the lings of he doesn't consider baseball interesting, and it shows from his broadcasting. His disdain is apparent. It hate Fox's presentation of baseball. I don't think they have done anything to "grow" the sport. Put the playoffs on a different network. Have the announcers wear tuxedos just to show the world series is a BIG DEAL. Have advertising hyping up the World Series as a huge baseball event, not just part of "Foxtober! Big 12 football, NFL football, and then baseball at night!"

A lot of good points here, especially in the second paragraph. That Buck-McCarver announcing team is so horrible that I actually think I get stupider listening to them. There were at least five occasions during the World Series where I said either aloud or to myself, "What the hell are you talking about, McCarver?"

Early in Game 4 during his "scouting report," McCarver suggested Matt Cain junk his slider because he had hung a few too many of them in his previous start against St. Louis. Ummm.... Ok, so let me get this straight: Cain, after using his slider as an out pitch against right-handed hitters all season, is supposed to just subtract that pitch from his repertoire in one of the biggest starts of his career. Yeah, that makes sense. Thanks for the insight, Tim. I'm sure Cain and Posey will take that suggestion into consideration.

tebman
10-30-2012, 01:37 PM
I think part of the problem is that people now have more entertainment options at home. Before satellite/cable, most people were lucky to have a half dozen channels. Casual fans would watch the World Series just because it was on. Now, there are hundreds of channels, internet, dvr, on demand movies, etc.

Baseball is the 2nd most popular sport, and TV revenue has never been higher. The health of the sport is perfectly fine.

I agree with both statements even though at first glance they would seem to contradict each other. If the sports/entertainment pie is cut into more pieces (and there's no doubt that it has), it wouldn't follow that baseball is collecting record revenues. But both are still true.

Television is what drives this. They figured out some years ago that producing a sports broadcast is cheaper than producing a sitcom or a movie. The ratio of ad revenue to costs is higher for sports, even with the oceans of money Fox and ESPN (owned by Disney) throw around in rights fees. Even is 1981, the Tribune company was so concerned about losing WGN-TV's rights to the Cubs that they bought the team; doing that guaranteed that Channel 9 would have hundreds of hours of economical programming.

The difference now is in scale. Fox and ESPN pay billions in rights fees, and MLB teams have gotten savvy enough to work out their own local deals for radio and TV, some of them owning their own local networks. The moneymaking potential for broadcasters is so great that there's plenty of money for all sports. Hell, there's even a full-time golf channel.

The World Series? It's the final act in the six-month-long MLB TV show. As long as overall revenue is high (and it is), MLB doesn't have any real incentive to promote it to the prominence it held in previous generations. Pete Rozelle and the NFL were 50 years ahead of MLB in understanding how to promote their sport, and it's no coincidence that the Super Bowl is, for all practical purposes, a national holiday.

MLB could still do that but they've got a lot of catching up to do. It makes no sense that the deciding game of the World Series didn't end until 11:00 p.m. on a weeknight. This is MLB's Super Bowl, but they've handed the keys to the Fox network. We're subjected to the too-cool-for-school dronings of Joe Buck and the inanities of Tim McCarver, who spend way too much time promoting other TV shows.

As long as the TV checks have lots of zeros and clear the bank, I don't see much of this changing. I hope I'm wrong.

Domeshot17
10-30-2012, 01:54 PM
I think day games would be a bad idea, especially if you had an east coast and west coast team. I don't think you are going to see some mad rush of kids who watch.

You have a lot of programming options, Kids can just play out the world series on their xbox whenever they want, its a long playoff stretch and gets deep into the heart of football season. So many reasons the games are down.

SI1020
10-30-2012, 08:16 PM
If you want the worlds series to be "relevant" like it was in the 60's and 70's, make only 5 channels available on TV, get rid of video games, the internet, cell phones, DVR, DVD's and computers.

Also, the world series wasn't as popular as many think it was back then. Most world series games were day games. I would have to disagree with that. The World Series used to be a much bigger deal than it is now. In fact, I'm so old that I remember when it was the biggest deal of all. The games were all played in the day then. Imagine. The first WS game to be played at night was game 4 of the 1971 contest between the Orioles and Pirates. The Pirates spotted the Orioles a 3-0 lead and then stormed back behind the strong performances of relievers Bruce Kison and Dave Giusti, winning 4-3. Gradually more and more games were played at night. The last ever day game was played indoors in Minnesota in 1987. The last outdoor day game was in Detroit in 1984. I think baseball is hurting itself by having no World Series day games. I also think that the season and playoffs are too long, but I doubt that will ever change. Commissioner Selig has tried so hard to NFLize his sport, but it's a losing battle. Football surpassed baseball in popularity in the 60's and has lapped it many times since then.

WhiteSox5187
10-30-2012, 08:33 PM
I wasn't alive in the '70s, so I can't say for sure. Maybe my memories of the '90s are clouded because I was still young. However, baseball coverage (ESPN) took a HUGE turn towards Yankees/Red Sox 24/7 around the turn of the century. In the '90s the Indians were a small market team which had huge national appeal. Of course, we haven't had a small market team come out and dominate a division while winning two pennants and having many superstar players since then, so there is no true comparison. I don't think those Indians would be hyped up as much in this day. Casual fans don't know stars unless they play for their team or a division rival. Who the hell is Joey Votto? Half of baseball fans today probably couldn't tell you because his great play is not highlighted. He's not exactly doing what Griffey did on a small-market Mariners team in the '90s, but he is still doing great in obscurity. Justin Verlander is the best pitcher in baseball, and on national commercials, but I would venture to bet the average casual Rockies or Padres fans couldn't pick him out of a lineup. ESPN spends the entire season telling us that the Yankees and Red Sox are the only teams which matter, then everybody is flummoxed when neither team makes it and the ratings are down.

Another thing is, I think Fox has been terrible for the sport. Their coverage seems reluctant at best. "Well, here ya go. Baseball, I guess. Hey! In the stands there's a guy from one of our soon-to-be-cancelled sitcoms. Uhh, we will have football games on Sunday!" They went from trying to make a half-assed splash with KEWL robotic sounds and crap years ago, to now not even pretending to care. Hell, they don't even have baseball-specific theme music anymore. They use the "hard hitting" Fox NFL music, which is an awkward fit at best. Joe Buck is one of the worst announcers in sports, and he surely doesn't bring excitement to things. He said something along the lings of he doesn't consider baseball interesting, and it shows from his broadcasting. His disdain is apparent. It hate Fox's presentation of baseball. I don't think they have done anything to "grow" the sport. Put the playoffs on a different network. Have the announcers wear tuxedos just to show the world series is a BIG DEAL. Have advertising hyping up the World Series as a huge baseball event, not just part of "Foxtober! Big 12 football, NFL football, and then baseball at night!"

This is an excellent point. I think you have the root of the problem in that ESPN is only interested in promoting the Red Sox (the Nation!) and the Yankees (the Empire!). Additionally Fox keeps treating baseball as though it were football and brands all their sports coverage the same which doesn't appreciate the differences in which the games are played and thus how they should be presented.

mjmcend
10-30-2012, 10:21 PM
For the WS the average age of the viewer was over 50 years old. Younger generations don't like baseball as much as NBA, NFL, and possibly NCAA football.

Anyone around my age (late 20s-early 30s) grew up in the age of Micheal Jordan, the 94 MLB strike, and Madden video game football. The only good thing baseball has had all to itself in the last 20 years is the 98 home run chase. And even that turned out to be BS.

This is backed up by the fact that while Game 3 drew more overall viewers, the ND-Oklahoma game outdrew the World Series in the important 18-49 demographic.

http://www.sportsmediawatch.com/2012/10/world-series-final-rating-for-game-3-tied-as-lowest-ever-for-w-s-game/

DSpivack
10-30-2012, 10:26 PM
I agree with both statements even though at first glance they would seem to contradict each other. If the sports/entertainment pie is cut into more pieces (and there's no doubt that it has), it wouldn't follow that baseball is collecting record revenues. But both are still true.

Television is what drives this. They figured out some years ago that producing a sports broadcast is cheaper than producing a sitcom or a movie. The ratio of ad revenue to costs is higher for sports, even with the oceans of money Fox and ESPN (owned by Disney) throw around in rights fees. Even is 1981, the Tribune company was so concerned about losing WGN-TV's rights to the Cubs that they bought the team; doing that guaranteed that Channel 9 would have hundreds of hours of economical programming.

The difference now is in scale. Fox and ESPN pay billions in rights fees, and MLB teams have gotten savvy enough to work out their own local deals for radio and TV, some of them owning their own local networks. The moneymaking potential for broadcasters is so great that there's plenty of money for all sports. Hell, there's even a full-time golf channel.

The World Series? It's the final act in the six-month-long MLB TV show. As long as overall revenue is high (and it is), MLB doesn't have any real incentive to promote it to the prominence it held in previous generations. Pete Rozelle and the NFL were 50 years ahead of MLB in understanding how to promote their sport, and it's no coincidence that the Super Bowl is, for all practical purposes, a national holiday.

MLB could still do that but they've got a lot of catching up to do. It makes no sense that the deciding game of the World Series didn't end until 11:00 p.m. on a weeknight. This is MLB's Super Bowl, but they've handed the keys to the Fox network. We're subjected to the too-cool-for-school dronings of Joe Buck and the inanities of Tim McCarver, who spend way too much time promoting other TV shows.

As long as the TV checks have lots of zeros and clear the bank, I don't see much of this changing. I hope I'm wrong.

Typical Tebman. By which I mean, fantastic post which I agree with, and delivers on the issues of it much better than I could have ever put forward. :cool:

I would have to disagree with that. The World Series used to be a much bigger deal than it is now. In fact, I'm so old that I remember when it was the biggest deal of all. The games were all played in the day then. Imagine. The first WS game to be played at night was game 4 of the 1971 contest between the Orioles and Pirates. The Pirates spotted the Orioles a 3-0 lead and then stormed back behind the strong performances of relievers Bruce Kison and Dave Giusti, winning 4-3. Gradually more and more games were played at night. The last ever day game was played indoors in Minnesota in 1987. The last outdoor day game was in Detroit in 1984. I think baseball is hurting itself by having no World Series day games. I also think that the season and playoffs are too long, but I doubt that will ever change. Commissioner Selig has tried so hard to NFLize his sport, but it's a losing battle. Football surpassed baseball in popularity in the 60's and has lapped it many times since then.

Football may have surpassed baseball in popular on a relative level, but overall, both sports have much higher attendance (both total and as a % of capacity) than they did then. And, as Tebman said, while baseball may not have the attention of the masses as it did then, there a lot more entertainment options as whole (both within and outside of the sports world) to splinter the attention of the public. Viewing the sport within that lens, I think baseball is doing fine. And as Tebman and others have said, I would tweak it a bit and make the scheduling much better, but I would not make any drastic changes.

palehozenychicty
10-30-2012, 11:08 PM
The World Series once matched the two "best" teams in baseball, or the best team in each league, as determined by performance over a whole season. Now it matches the two teams that are best "this week." At least one of those teams was often a marginal performer over the entire season but got hot at the right time. Who cares other than the fans of those teams.

Also, by the time you come to the seventh do-or-die series in three weeks, the thrill is gone.

The full season has lost its transcendent importance, and the postseason is just a second season, more disappointing than the first for all but one team and its fans.

That said, who cares as long as baseball remains financially viable and we can "appreciate the game," or whatever the slogan was this year?

If our White Sox can figure it out and get another title before the Cubs, I don't give a damn.

Milw
10-31-2012, 12:54 AM
I'm a diehard White Sox fan--I watch 150+ games per year on TV, and attend 10-12 in person. I live and die with the Sox.

I watched exactly zero innings of this year's World Series, and I think I maybe watched 20 innings of the postseason in total. I just didn't care.

I don't know what that says about me or baseball. Maybe nothing. But I gotta think if someone like me, who devotes his entire summer to baseball, doesn't care enough about the World Series to watch any of it, that MLB has some kind of long-term problem on its hands.

DSpivack
10-31-2012, 01:02 AM
I'm a diehard White Sox fan--I watch 150+ games per year on TV, and attend 10-12 in person. I live and die with the Sox.

I watched exactly zero innings of this year's World Series, and I think I maybe watched 20 innings of the postseason in total. I just didn't care.

I don't know what that says about me or baseball. Maybe nothing. But I gotta think if someone like me, who devotes his entire summer to baseball, doesn't care enough about the World Series to watch any of it, that MLB has some kind of long-term problem on its hands.

Do you watch the NBA Finals, NHL Stanley Cup Final, and the Super Bowl?

LITTLE NELL
10-31-2012, 06:20 AM
When I was a kid the WS was something special. All games were in the afternoon and in grammar school the teachers would bring radios to the classroom and we would listen to the games while doing some kind of light schoolwork.
What has happened is there is just too much other things going on right now, cable TV has given you 150-200 other things to watch instead of watching 2 teams you don't even care about.
I have no idea what the answer is but compared to the Super Bowl the WS is a joke and that's coming from a guy who never watches football.

SI1020
10-31-2012, 08:59 AM
I'm not going to name names because when you do that you invariably leave people out, but man this is a really good thread. I'm tipping my hat to all of you in cyberspace.

DumpJerry
10-31-2012, 10:30 AM
MLB does a pretty decent job at promoting regular season games, but trouble with promoting the World Series.


That can be solved if either the Red Sox or Yankees moved to the NL.:tongue:


But seriously, look at the contrast with the Super Bowl, one of the best promoted sporting events in America. The NFL gets the media from not only the cities whose teams are in the game involved, but local media from all over the world involved in the run-up to the game. They have specific media days where players and coaches must be available to ALL media, not just their hometown reporters and ESPN. It does not appear that MLB engages in local media for the cities that are not represented in the World Series other than sending out press releases with the game times and starting rotations. With the Super Bowl, we see personal stories in local media about some of the players, including players who are not studs. We don't see much of that about the players on the World Series teams in local media.

Selig and Co. need to seriously examine their media relations department and work on selling the World Series as America's Event nationwide.

doublem23
10-31-2012, 10:40 AM
Except the World Series isn't an "event" in the way the Super Bowl is. The Super Bowl is one night, one single game, that everyone can get together and watch together. The World Series is somewhere between 5-9 days long. They're just not comparable. This idea that the World Series needs to be more Super Bowl is preposterous, if anything, baseball's attempst to "footballize" the sport is what's lead to the watering down of the World Series. No amount of PR or marketing BS is going to change that fact. Let football be football. Baseball should concentrate on being the best baseball it can be, not trying to copycat another sport just because that happens to be the way this generation's tastes have been set.

DumpJerry
10-31-2012, 10:46 AM
Except the World Series isn't an "event" in the way the Super Bowl is. The Super Bowl is one night, one single game, that everyone can get together and watch together. The World Series is somewhere between 5-9 days long. They're just not comparable. This idea that the World Series needs to be more Super Bowl is preposterous, if anything, baseball's attempst to "footballize" the sport is what's lead to the watering down of the World Series. No amount of PR or marketing BS is going to change that fact. Let football be football. Baseball should concentrate on being the best baseball it can be, not trying to copycat another sport just because that happens to be the way this generation's tastes have been set.
Back in the day, there was a great build up of excitement for the World Series. During the Series itself, because it is 4-7 games long, there was constant drama and excitement after each game. MLB marketing can take advantage of the ongoing drama until the final out of the final game is made. This is something the Super Bowl does not have because it is one and done.

doublem23
10-31-2012, 10:58 AM
Back in the day, there was a great build up of excitement for the World Series. During the Series itself, because it is 4-7 games long, there was constant drama and excitement after each game. MLB marketing can take advantage of the ongoing drama until the final out of the final game is made. This is something the Super Bowl does not have because it is one and done.

The World Series will never return to it's glory years "back in the day." As has been noted a million times over, there's just too much distraction, too much other entertainment out there available to casual fans. Among sports fans, the World Series is still a very relevant event, and it had great TV ratings for the year 2012. But if you think that we're ever going to go back to the 1960s where 1/3 of the country is going to tune in for a week to watch the 4th best NL team from San Francisco against the 7th best team in the AL from Detroit. That's just a completely unrealistic scenario. It's never going to happen. Deal with it.

And I completely disagree that there's no ongoing drama to the Super Bowl, as it is the culmination of the NFL Play-offs, which by themselves are enough of a cultural event. The Super Bowl is basically a guaranteed Game 7 every single year, a final, do or die, winner take all showdown for the championship. It's the same phenomenon that allows people to care about the NCAA Tournament stacked with schools, teams, players, etc. that they've never heard of. The drama of "one and done" allows casual viewers to tune in and get involved for a few hours one night. Asking casual viewers to tune in 4-7 nights over 5-9 days is just not a realistic. Baseball simply can't replicate that kind of drama, especially not when the series lasts 4 games because one team didn't even bother to show up to play.

The build up to the World Series you remember was mostly due to the fact that it was really the best vs. the best in a showdown. But the diluting of the leagues into divisions and the expansion of the playoffs has ruined that. Nobody who paid attention to baseball this season thinks the Giants or Tigers were really the best representatives of their leagues. They just happened to be the lucky bastards who were in the right spot at the right time. So you have to choose which is better, the artificial excitement and drama that the expanded playoffs and division chases cause (for example, the White Sox-Tigers chase that went down to the last week of the season would have been completely void without the divisional format, as either team would have been out of the playoff hunt by August) or forgoing all that to again make the World Series a truly "best of the best" representative event in which the AL's best plays the NL's best. But that seems to detract a lot more than it adds.

DumpJerry
10-31-2012, 11:14 AM
And I completely disagree that there's no ongoing drama to the Super Bowl, as it is the culmination of the NFL Play-offs, which by themselves are enough of a cultural event. The Super Bowl is basically a guaranteed Game 7 every single year, a final, do or die, winner take all showdown for the championship. It's the same phenomenon that allows people to care about the NCAA Tournament stacked with schools, teams, players, etc. that they've never heard of. The drama of "one and done" allows casual viewers to tune in and get involved for a few hours one night. Asking casual viewers to tune in 4-7 nights over 5-9 days is just not a realistic. Baseball simply can't replicate that kind of drama, especially not when the series lasts 4 games because one team didn't even bother to show up to play.

The build up to the World Series you remember was mostly due to the fact that it was really the best vs. the best in a showdown. But the diluting of the leagues into divisions and the expansion of the playoffs has ruined that. Nobody who paid attention to baseball this season thinks the Giants or Tigers were really the best representatives of their leagues. They just happened to be the lucky bastards who were in the right spot at the right time. So you have to choose which is better, the artificial excitement and drama that the expanded playoffs and division chases cause (for example, the White Sox-Tigers chase that went down to the last week of the season would have been completely void without the divisional format, as either team would have been out of the playoff hunt by August) or forgoing all that to again make the World Series a truly "best of the best" representative event in which the AL's best plays the NL's best. But that seems to detract a lot more than it adds.
Your statement about the Super Bowl agrees with what I said about ongoing drama. The NFL markets it. MLB doesn't.

Your comments about the playoff expansion/format echo what I said earlier about having too many teams in the playoffs. While having so many teams in the playoffs is great for September ticket sales and media ratings, it is killing the postseason interest.

Milw
10-31-2012, 11:22 AM
Do you watch the NBA Finals, NHL Stanley Cup Final, and the Super Bowl?
No, no, and of course. But then again, I don't follow the NBA or NHL. I also consider myself a bigger baseball fan than football fan.

Nellie_Fox
10-31-2012, 11:47 AM
I'm a diehard White Sox fan--I watch 150+ games per year on TV, and attend 10-12 in person. I live and die with the Sox.

I watched exactly zero innings of this year's World Series, and I think I maybe watched 20 innings of the postseason in total. I just didn't care.

I don't know what that says about me or baseball. Maybe nothing. But I gotta think if someone like me, who devotes his entire summer to baseball, doesn't care enough about the World Series to watch any of it, that MLB has some kind of long-term problem on its hands.I didn't watch any of the postseason at all, and I don't ever remember doing that before. The only explanation I can come up with is that I was just drained by the Sox getting eliminated so late after leading the division pretty much all year.

Do you watch the NBA Finals, NHL Stanley Cup Final, and the Super Bowl?No, yes, and usually.

doublem23
10-31-2012, 12:01 PM
I didn't watch any of the postseason at all, and I don't ever remember doing that before. The only explanation I can come up with is that I was just drained by the Sox getting eliminated so late after leading the division pretty much all year.

This is exactly how I felt, too. Couldn't muster myself to watch any postseason baseball really, except for maybe an inning here and there, maybe have a game on in the background, and just watch the highlights in the morning.

Probably also fuels the prominance of the Super Bowl over the World Series, too. The baseball season is so long that by the end, even the most diehard fans are ready for a break, except for say the teams actually in the World Series. Football, the maximum number of games your team can possibly play is 20. There's still a desire for football, even after your team is out.

Chez
10-31-2012, 12:53 PM
Probably also fuels the prominance of the Super Bowl over the World Series, too. The baseball season is so long that by the end, even the most diehard fans are ready for a break, except for say the teams actually in the World Series. Football, the maximum number of games your team can possibly play is 20. There's still a desire for football, even after your team is out.

I think you've touched on why football has overtaken baseball as the most popular sport in the U.S. Being a devoted baseball fan is hard. It takes a major time commitment -- games every day. Football is essentially a one day a week commitment. It's a lot easier to carve out 3 hours on a Sunday to watch the Bears than 3 hours every day to watch the Sox. With so many entertainment options available, many people simply aren't willing to (or don't have the time to) make the commitment.

Same logic holds true for the Super Bowl vs. the World Series. Just my opinion. Baseball is a great game (I think the greatest), but it's not for everyone. A best of seven series will never be as compelling to the casual fan as a one-game winner take all event.

doublem23
10-31-2012, 12:55 PM
I think you've touched on why football has overtaken baseball as the most popular sport in the U.S. Being a devoted baseball fan is hard. It takes a major time commitment -- games every day. Football is essentially a one day a week commitment. It's a lot easier to carve out 3 hours on a Sunday to watch the Bears than 3 hours every day to watch the Sox. With so many entertainment options available, many people simply aren't willing to (or don't have the time to) make the commitment.

Same logic holds true for the Super Bowl vs. the World Series. Just my opinion. Baseball is a great game (I think the greatest), but it's not for everyone. A best of seven series will never be as compelling to the casual fan as a one-game winner take all event.

All absolutely true. And gambling.

TDog
10-31-2012, 01:15 PM
Do you watch the NBA Finals, NHL Stanley Cup Final, and the Super Bowl?

I know people who don't watch the Super Bowl. For years, I've kinown people who go to Super Bowl parties who say they don't watch the game or even care. When I was living in an apartment, I always found Super Bowl Sunday a great time to beat laundromat crowds because even people who didn't care but were socially committed to it. I know people who don't watch the NBA finals including some who stop watching the NBA playoffs when their team is elimnated.

I don't know many people who watch hockey, and I don't know anyone who doesn't watch hockey duruing the season who watches the Stanley Cup finals. I know a lot of people who don't watch the World Series, although this year in Northern California I know people who couldn't be bothered with baseball during the season watching the World Series.

Baseball is much bigger than basketball in cities with both baseball and basketball. Look at the difference between the Bulls' celebrations in the 1990s and the White Sox celebration in the next decade. And we are told that the celebration over the Cubs would have been exponentially bigger. I can't imagine the celebration for a Warriors championship comparing to what is going on today in San Francisco. Still, I was at a restaurant a couple of years ago, where a man was complaining that the television was tuened to a baseball game instead of the NFL draft. I can't imagine watching any sport's draft coverage unless I was getting paid to do so or found myself in some sort of invalid or hostage situation where I as unable to leave or change the channel.

Football is bigger than baseball. And football has done a better job of marketing its sport, The league markets the league. Teams share revenues. The league encourages gambling to make the game interesting to people who ordinarily wouldn't find the game interesting. The league will fine a San Francisco football player for wearing a Giants hat during a news conference because the league is about the concept that only the league exists. I don't think ESPN showing the Yankees and Red Sox is relevant to the discussion because I think baseball is more relevant than ESPN. Fewer people grow up playing baseball. Other sports are easier to play. Video games are even easier, and football's controlled violence (which will be the fall of the sport eventually) translates well to video games.

I do think it's silly to play Saturday and Sunday World Series games at night in late October. If you're going to give Fox the rights to the World Series, require Fox to show the weekend games during the day. It isn't just a matter of games being broadcast when the kids are still up. You are going to get better weather during the day than you get at

Milw
10-31-2012, 01:29 PM
The Onion has a relevant take, as always.

http://www.theonion.com/articles/oh-right-world-series,30169/

A. Cavatica
10-31-2012, 06:10 PM
When is the Series this year?

PKalltheway
11-01-2012, 02:28 PM
Perhaps one of the most intelligent discussions I've heard on this subject. Very informative. So many people like to use a broad brush to paint the picture as to why the World Series ratings keep dwindling by saying "football." While that is A reason why the ratings are so low, it is not THE ONLY reason.

Plus, people were speculating back in '06 (or whenever the last TV contracts were being negotiated) that "by the next time MLB has to negotiate new TV deals, they're going be worth so much less, etc." Not. Even. Close. They are worth more now than they have ever been before. Heck, even look at the worth of some of the local TV deals now.

Love some intelligent baseball discussion. :smile:

TDog
11-01-2012, 04:04 PM
Perhaps one of the most intelligent discussions I've heard on this subject. Very informative. So many people like to use a broad brush to paint the picture as to why the World Series ratings keep dwindling by saying "football." While that is A reason why the ratings are so low, it is not THE ONLY reason.

Plus, people were speculating back in '06 (or whenever the last TV contracts were being negotiated) that "by the next time MLB has to negotiate new TV deals, they're going be worth so much less, etc." Not. Even. Close. They are worth more now than they have ever been before. Heck, even look at the worth of some of the local TV deals now.

Love some intelligent baseball discussion. :smile:

As do I. It's a complicated issue. It is interesting that you point out the TV deal despite the low ratings. (Funny that in 2005 Cubs fans were blaming the White Sox, or maybe it was the only joy they could get from postseason baseball, not having had any of their own since Moises Alou complained he was interfered with when he team was five outs away from the World Series. But I digress.)

If baseball demanded some of the things some here believe should be done to increase the popularity of baseball and the World Series -- i.e. networks that aren't MLB not showing the Yankees and Red Sox more often, World Series games, all or some being played during the day etc. -- I am guessing the television money would be less.

TomBradley72
11-01-2012, 04:29 PM
I think you've touched on why football has overtaken baseball as the most popular sport in the U.S. Being a devoted baseball fan is hard. It takes a major time commitment -- games every day. Football is essentially a one day a week commitment. It's a lot easier to carve out 3 hours on a Sunday to watch the Bears than 3 hours every day to watch the Sox. With so many entertainment options available, many people simply aren't willing to (or don't have the time to) make the commitment.

Same logic holds true for the Super Bowl vs. the World Series. Just my opinion. Baseball is a great game (I think the greatest), but it's not for everyone. A best of seven series will never be as compelling to the casual fan as a one-game winner take all event.

Super Bowl = 1 night in late January + lots of gambling action = mass popularity

World Series = 4-7 nights across 9 days in late October + low gambling interest = lower popularity for the general population

I am 10X the baseball fan vs. football fan- but if it's a generic game that does not involve "my" teams- an NFL game is probably more interesting to watch.

Frontman
11-01-2012, 04:37 PM
Part of baseball's problem is how long it drags on. The extra wildcard was a great idea (and didn't extend the post-season) but from the playoffs beginning to final pitch of the world series, you have possibly 50+ games to be played.

Even with the wild card round for the NFL, its less than 30. It makes it harder to keep a casual fans interest going.

mjmcend
11-01-2012, 06:30 PM
Perhaps one of the most intelligent discussions I've heard on this subject. Very informative. So many people like to use a broad brush to paint the picture as to why the World Series ratings keep dwindling by saying "football." While that is A reason why the ratings are so low, it is not THE ONLY reason.

Plus, people were speculating back in '06 (or whenever the last TV contracts were being negotiated) that "by the next time MLB has to negotiate new TV deals, they're going be worth so much less, etc." Not. Even. Close. They are worth more now than they have ever been before. Heck, even look at the worth of some of the local TV deals now.

Love some intelligent baseball discussion. :smile:

A lot of that has to do with the increased value in all sports programing as live TV in general and sports in particular are much less likely to be time-shifted than standard TV shows. Advertisers like knowing people will be watching the commercials rather than fast-forwarding through them.

Milw
11-02-2012, 01:18 PM
I am 10X the baseball fan vs. football fan- but if it's a generic game that does not involve "my" teams- an NFL game is probably more interesting to watch.
This.

SI1020
11-02-2012, 02:21 PM
Perhaps one of the most intelligent discussions I've heard on this subject. Very informative. So many people like to use a broad brush to paint the picture as to why the World Series ratings keep dwindling by saying "football." While that is A reason why the ratings are so low, it is not THE ONLY reason.

Plus, people were speculating back in '06 (or whenever the last TV contracts were being negotiated) that "by the next time MLB has to negotiate new TV deals, they're going be worth so much less, etc." Not. Even. Close. They are worth more now than they have ever been before. Heck, even look at the worth of some of the local TV deals now.

Love some intelligent baseball discussion. :smile: I was one of those pointing out how popular football has become, but you are correct. There are many and varied reasons why the WS seems less relevant and has the ratings to prove it.