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The Shrinking MLB Fan Base
Old 03-29-2019, 12:11 PM   #1
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The Shrinking MLB Fan Base

The MLB fan base is shrinking. I can see why. Last year when I was 'cord shaving', I lost my MLB team viewing access on Dish. What I discovered is that except for the occasional 'game of the week', nearly all baseball teams requires a payment to watch their games on either TV or the internet. With the Cubs dumping broadcast TV, the situation is getting worse. My solution last year was to get the MLB one team package and a VPN account to watch my team. I needed the VPN because even though I live 500 miles away from the ballpark and live in another State, I'm still in my team's blackout area. Actually I'm in the blackout area for two teams, neither of which is located in my state. In 2016 there was a lawsuit about the onerous MLB blackouts, but the result only marginally improved the situation. https://deadspin.com/mlbs-blackout-r...-se-1753945222

Finally the media is noticing. https://www.usatoday.com/story/sport...ts/3296208002/

From the article: "The wildly-inflated, multi-billion dollar national and local TV contracts that enrichen everyone also ensures a wall of access must go up to protect that golden goose. The next generation of fans is essentially diverted – or barred altogether – from viewing their favorite team in the manner they’d prefer.

At the ballpark, things are only getting more exclusive.

Stadiums both current and planned are shrinking; the Tampa Bay Rays reduced Tropicana Field capacity to 25,000 and hope to build a permanent ballpark with similar dimensions. The Texas Rangers’ new ballpark will shrink capacity from 48,000 to around 40,000. The Oakland Athletics’ dream home at Howard Terminal, should it ever be built, would seat 34,000, fewer seats than any park built in the last wave of construction.

Smaller venues create ticket scarcity, which means much higher prices. That’s great for bottom lines.

But think about this for a moment: The younger generation MLB hopes to court can barely afford housing, let alone owning a home, having children or retiring their crippling student loan debt. The average age of a fan watching on TV is already north of 55 – a generation that fell in love with the sport when attending games was far more affordable.
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Old 03-29-2019, 12:15 PM   #2
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Yeah I am one of them. Just don't watch much baseball anymore. I have other competing interests.
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Old 03-29-2019, 12:22 PM   #3
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MLB network & MLB tonight gets me through. I do watch some college baseball full games

went to a college game this week. $7 SRO tickets. Beer, burger & a water. About $25 plus $5 parking
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Old 03-29-2019, 12:23 PM   #4
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While I check the box scores periodically nowadays, it has been more than a decade since I watched a game and even longer since I attended one. As a youngster, a day at the park was the best of days.
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Old 03-29-2019, 12:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timo2 View Post
But think about this for a moment: The younger generation MLB hopes to court can barely afford housing, let alone owning a home, having children or retiring their crippling student loan debt. The average age of a fan watching on TV is already north of 55 – a generation that fell in love with the sport when attending games was far more affordable.[/I]
That's the key right there. I'd add that, as with any generation, there's going to be people included in that group you mentioned above, that should be able to afford all of those things, & easily could if they didn't insist on living above their income when it comes to housing, (buying a $500,000 home, when a $250,000 one would do) automobiles, clothes, food (someone joked to me recently that new homes don't come with stoves) Cable TV/Internet, iPhones, 81" smart tv's, etc. etc. etc.
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Old 03-29-2019, 12:34 PM   #6
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While I check the box scores periodically nowadays, it has been more than a decade since I watched a game and even longer since I attended one. As a youngster, a day at the park was the best of days.

An old friend of mine and I were discussing options (now that we both live pretty far away from our respective favorite major league teams’ stadiums).

I asked him about minors in his area. Answer: Chattanooga Lookouts. What a great name... I’d go!
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Old 03-29-2019, 12:36 PM   #7
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That's the key right there. I'd add that, as with any generation, there's going to be people included in that group you mentioned above, that should be able to afford all of those things, & easily could if they didn't insist on living above their income when it comes to housing, (buying a $500,000 home, when a $250,000 one would do) automobiles, clothes, food (someone joked to me recently that new homes don't come with stoves) Cable TV/Internet, iPhones, 81" smart tv's, etc. etc. etc.
Actually the new $230K home I purchased in 2016 had all kitchen appliances and two built in connections for internet and cable TV, plus all the window blinds. and the house I sold to buy this one had all that also. It is what the market is these days. If a home doesn't have those things, it needs to be priced accordingly.

Regarding MLB ticket prices, in 1975 I could get a bleacher seat for $2.00. That is $10.00 in 2019 dollars. Most clubs still have a $10.00 seat somewhere. I think the problem is the expensive online or cable tv access and the blackout rules
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Old 03-29-2019, 12:40 PM   #8
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An old friend of mine and I were discussing options (now that we both live pretty far away from our respective favorite major league teams’ stadiums).

I asked him about minors in his area. Answer: Chattanooga Lookouts. What a great name... I’d go!
Yes, We are supporting our local AAA team, the Albuquerque Isotopes!
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Old 03-29-2019, 12:42 PM   #9
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Yes, We are supporting our local AAA team, the Albuquerque Isotopes!

Hah!! Those wacky kids, good for them!
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Old 03-29-2019, 12:55 PM   #10
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Attention spans are also way shorter. When I was younger I loved watching baseball. Years later I just cannot sit through a single 3+ hour game (let alone 180 of them...) with all the downtime and ads and commentary at 1x speed. In the same time I can get a good binge of some TV show on Netflix or Hulu, go to the gym, go on a bike ride, surf the web/read for a few hours, etc.
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Old 03-29-2019, 01:31 PM   #11
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It's not just MLB that's declining. There are other sports facing similar decline. New or other sports are taking their fan base. Changing of the guards do happen in sport over time. I stop watching MLB years ago when internet/dish made it easier to watch what I want to watch. Too many things to watch > 3 hour MLB game.
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Old 03-29-2019, 02:46 PM   #12
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I am reminded of how many people stopped following boxing after all the big fights moved to PPV. I guess I grew up in a golden age of heavyweight boxing, in the 1970s and early 1980s, before it all went PPV. It was easy to be a boxing fan then -- not so much since.
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Old 03-29-2019, 02:52 PM   #13
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+1 for the Isotopes. A reason for considering a move to ABQ. Use to watch the Ghosts when they played in Casper (WY).
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When the love is gone, the fans are gone. And they aren't coming back.
Old 03-29-2019, 03:07 PM   #14
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When the love is gone, the fans are gone. And they aren't coming back.

The pattern isn't limited to sports. Today every business, every industry, is consumed by a mantra of Maximize Profit Now.

Jack prices, squeeze costs, give away nothing. Charge more for admission, parking, concessions, caps, jerseys, pennants, broadcast rights, etc. Plow up those cheap seats in the stadium upper decks and replace them with luxury skyboxes. Strong-arm local politicians into paying for it with taxpayer money or the team will bolt for greener pastures.

When there's no more blood left in the stone, move to the next stone.
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Old 03-29-2019, 03:14 PM   #15
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Most of professional sports is working to price out the average fan, to support ridiculous salaries for the players and even more ridiculous profits for the owners.

Attending minor league games is a much more enjoyable experience. Closer to the action, cheaper tickets and food and the game, cheaper parking, and easier access in many cases. And don't do this often despite having minor league baseball nearby.

It's been years since I attended a pro game in any sport that I had to pay for, except for a couple of occasions where I got good discounts.
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Old 03-29-2019, 03:24 PM   #16
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I find it boaring, games should not take as long as they do. Too much piss around , how many times does a batter need to be in and out of the box ?
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Old 03-29-2019, 03:37 PM   #17
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I'm not a big baseball fan, I'm doing the ESPN+ thing now.. lots of interesting games in all sports for $4.99/month. To me the most outrageous sports tickets are for the NFL. Cheap tickets starting at $100 no thanks!
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Old 03-29-2019, 03:40 PM   #18
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I once heard someone say baseball is for kids and old people. Might be true. Kids like it because they play it and therefore can relate to what is on the field. Old people like it for nostalgia - my Dad used to keep score in the program - the afternoon games, something to do.
That leaves a whole bunch of people like me sort of drifting away. The games are too long, the action is sporadic, drug scandals took away some of the purity for me. I witnessed first hand Barry Bonds expanding head, the Sosa, McGuire stuff.
In summer, I would rather hike or bike than sit and watch a ballgame.
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Old 03-29-2019, 03:42 PM   #19
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The pattern isn't limited to sports. Today every business, every industry, is consumed by a mantra of Maximize Profit Now.

Jack prices, squeeze costs, give away nothing. Charge more for admission, parking, concessions, caps, jerseys, pennants, broadcast rights, etc. Plow up those cheap seats in the stadium upper decks and replace them with luxury skyboxes. Strong-arm local politicians into paying for it with taxpayer money or the team will bolt for greener pastures.

When there's no more blood left in the stone, move to the next stone.
+1000000
The very first place I noticed this phenomena was Las Vegas, NV. I lived there in the mid 1980's when the actual mob was being chased out and replaced by the corporate mob. Gone were cheap rooms, coupons for shrimp cocktails, cheap food, and all the other gimmicks the actual mob used to direct the money to where they could skim the most cash. In came expensive food and hotel rooms, poor payoffs at the machines, tight fisted blackjack rules, and no more shrimp cocktail coupons.
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Old 03-29-2019, 03:48 PM   #20
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NASCAR was packing tracks and adding seats in 2006-7. 2008-9 "Great Recession" hits and now tracks are closing entire sections if not removing seats and sponsors are leaving.
Basketball isn't basketball any more. When was the last time you saw a double-dribble or palming called? No jump ball. Traveling means you went more than half the court without dribbling. Gotta do whatever is needed to enable awesome slam dunks.
Football: what are the kicking rules going to be THIS year? Flag football rules for the quarterback?
Motorcycle sales are dropping as boomers can't hold up big bikes any more and millennials aren't interested.


But hey! we got cable shows like "Dr. Pimple Popper" and "The Toe Bro" to keep the masses entertained! (and God help us but those viewers also vote).
Times they are a changing.
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