We’ve noticed, along with the rest of the world, that no one cares about the World Series.The game drew 12.9 million 14.2 million viewers last night, a 2% decrease from last year.
The reasons for the decline in baseball’s popularity are wide-ranging, and you could write a book on any one of them.
But here’s our brief take on what’s wrong this year:
The games are too long. No one has time to sit around and watch a game for 3.5-4 straight hours. You have to be a diehard to make that sort of commitment. The oppressive length alienates casual fans, and drives down viewership.
This series has no stars. Albert Pujols is the only star in this series. That indefensible for baseball. How aren’t they marketing these guys better to make them household names? Whether it’s failure of business or an instrinsic part of the game, baseball has trouble making stars. And that’s on display in this series.
This series has no heroes and villains. See: Mavericks v. Heat. These teams and players seem like perfect decent, normal guys. And that’s not interesting.
The games are on too late. It’s amazing that these things don’t start at 7. How do you expect people to care when no one sees how your games end because they’re all asleep?
It doesn’t translate to TV very well. For the vast majority of people, sports is a live television show, not an in-house event. That means that sport has to suffice as a TV show as well as an athletic competition.
Simply, baseball on TV isn’t that good. Widescreen doesn’t show you more of the field the way it does for football, basketball, soccer, and hockey. And the slow pace of the game practically invites the viewer to change the channel.
Fans have no real history with these teams. The Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies draw interest not because they are located in big East-coast cities, but because they are familiar. We know the the strengths and weaknesses of the teams. We’ve seen them succeed and failed. Watching them is part of a longer history.
With the Cardinals and Rangers, we just don’t have that. The Cardinals snuck into the playoffs because the Braves collapse. The Rangers are an impressive collection of good players, but no one on their team stands out.
We’re sure we left out a lot of reasons why no one cares, so feel free to leave your take in the comments.
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