Originally Posted by tebman
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.
. 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.
Originally Posted by SI1020
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.