Some MLB Metrics Contradict Narrative That Sport Is In Decline
MLB and its fans have "raised alarms in recent years over a perceived decline" in popularity, but if viewed through the "lens of total tickets sold and local television ratings, a somewhat more optimistic picture emerges," according to Juliette Love of the N.Y. TIMES. MLB has "strong, local fan bases -- and a national following that could have a lot more room to grow." MLB "cashes in on its sheer volume of games, vastly outperforming the NFL and the NBA in ticket sales every year." A "major concern for baseball is the meager national profiles of its stars." An analysis of TV broadcasts by county "shows how widespread the broadcasts of the NFL and NBA stars are -- and how minimal they are for baseball's stars" like Angels CF Mike Trout. Further evidence of the "local nature of baseball's fandom can be seen in Google searches." Teams like the Tigers and Rockies have "very little following outside their areas." But local MLB broadcasts "are very popular." Twenty-four MLB teams "ranked first in their market" on TV in primetime. The local popularity of MLB "partially explains the poor World Series ratings in recent years," as after "following their home team for 162 games, fans may be unlikely to sit through a series between two teams they have rarely seen play" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/22).