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Disappointing Trend for MLB - TV Ratings


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To be honest, I watched a grand total of about 5 innings of this world series.

 

There was nothing there to peak my interest, and that was even with Prince playing...

 

Not sure what the answer is.

"I'm sick of runnin' from these wimps!" Ajax - The WARRIORS
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The problem is simple. The World Series is played too long after the regular season. Back before leagues were divided into divisions, the World Series followed right after the regular seasons. Fans of all teams were still in what I call their "baseball fan" mode and followed the games intently even though their teams weren't in it. Divisional play pushed that out further but the Series was still close enough that it maintained most of the interest.

 

Now with 3 playoff levels leading up to it, fans are on to other things. Of course the intense level of interest in pro and college football doesn't help baseball, but frankly, baseball is not a late October sport.

 

While the same thing (long time between regular season and finals) occurs in basketball and hockey, the difference is in those sports nobody really follows the regular season all that closely anyway. The playoffs are the thing. With baseball, the beauty of the sport is the ebbs and flows that occur over 162 games. That charm is gone come playoff time.

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I agree Briggs. Unfortunately, the extra wild card game kept fans of teams like Milwaukee and St Louis watching the regular season games until the end, so it accomplished what baseball wanted it to accomplish... it made money. Maybe that's just short-term and in the long term, it may alienate fans, but I don't see it going away. That's too bad, because even though it gave the Brewers a legitamate shot at the playoffs this year, I hate that they added a second wild card team.

"The most successful (people) know that performance over the long haul is what counts. If you can seize the day, great. But never forget that there are days yet to come."

 

~Bill Walsh

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For me baseball was just as enjoyable with 2 10 team leagues, and no playoffs leading up to the World Series. Championships meant more back then because just to be in position to win one meant you were excellent over an entire year. That a team like the Cardinals that finished 6 games back in 2011 in their own division is flying a 2011 World Champions flag, doesn't compute for me.

 

Baseball is making a mistake trying to be like other sports. At least that's my opinion.

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I actually ended up watching quite a bit more of the playoffs and World Series than I expected. Not sure why...maybe it's just because my wife and I tend to be home more these days, and sometimes there wasn't much else on. I think for many fans though, baseball is one of those sports where it's hard to care unless your team is in it. Most Brewers fans don't have much reason to care for a Tigers/Giants World Series, aside from maybe checking on how Prince Fielder did. I'm sure it was the same in the big markets...most New York fans probably tuned out after the Yankees got swept.

 

I don't know what the answer is, and I'm not sure if there even is an answer. Maybe increased TV ratings and attendance during the regular season is the trade off for the expanded playoffs and consequently lower World Series ratings.

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I think part of the problem is the LDS, LCS, and World Series being on different networks. As a fan, I'm not sure what channel to look on. Are the games on TBS or TNT? Now the World Series is on Fox. I know that in football the Super Bowl is often on a different network than the playoffs, but the Super Bowl is one game where the date/time is set well in advance, not random games based on outcomes of prior games. As for TBS and TNT, they are not networks I watch so I'm not exposed to reminders about games & times. I'll watch Fox because of football, but don't really have a reason to watch TBS or TNT. ESPN doesn't have a stake in the playoffs (no games on ESPN or ABC), so when it comes to SportsCenter they are going to lead with football because of their pre-game and Monday Night Football. They are going to do very little promotion of the baseball playoffs because their competitors profit from the ratings.

 

For me, I think the biggest thing was that 3 of the 4 teams in the playoffs were 3 of the 4 teams I hate the most - Cardinals, Yankees, Giants. Once the Orioles lost to the Yankees I was pretty much done. I rooted for the Tigers, but simply because I hate the Giants.

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After the wild card games I watched hardly any of the playoffs. Most people are going to blame the teams playing or that they went up against Thursday night prime time, college football and the NFL but it really it's just the nature of the game. People don't just haphazardly watch the world series. People don't say, "hey, there's nothing on TV tonight, I'll watch the world series." Interest in baseball is dropping across the board and there's really nothing MLB or anyone can do about it.
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The problem is simple. The World Series is played too long after the regular season. Back before leagues were divided into divisions, the World Series followed right after the regular seasons. Fans of all teams were still in what I call their "baseball fan" mode and followed the games intently even though their teams weren't in it. Divisional play pushed that out further but the Series was still close enough that it maintained most of the interest.

 

Now with 3 playoff levels leading up to it, fans are on to other things. Of course the intense level of interest in pro and college football doesn't help baseball, but frankly, baseball is not a late October sport.

 

While the same thing (long time between regular season and finals) occurs in basketball and hockey, the difference is in those sports nobody really follows the regular season all that closely anyway. The playoffs are the thing. With baseball, the beauty of the sport is the ebbs and flows that occur over 162 games. That charm is gone come playoff time.

 

Well, I think the answer is simple, but different. The American public has an attention span that has steadily decreased over the years from over-stimulation. I think right now it's similar to that of a gnat. If there is not "constant motion" (meaning constant player movement) or a certain amount of violence, or touchdown dances, or other types of showboating, it just isn't appealing to a large part of the viewing public. I was at the Wisconsin game on Saturday and the woman behind me kept complaining that A) the game was boring and B) there wasn't enough passing. Boring?..a 17-13 OT game..boring? Yikes. I have coached youth baseball for the last 9 years. One of the Dads from the team once said to me that when he goes to a Brewer game he hopes for a 10-8 game. He finds low scoring games (3-2, 4-2, etc), to be boring. *Sigh*

 

I love baseball. I found last nights game to be very entertaining. I think many people turn on the game, see a pitcher staring at a hitter and can only handle that for about 2 or 3 minutes before they are distracted by something shiny. They can't appreciate any form of entertainment that's not obvious or in their face.

User in-game thread post in 1st inning of 3rd game of the 2022 season: "This team stinks"

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This problem with Baseball post season not being a big deal is something that really worries me. I'm not sure what the fix is. I do kind of like the idea of going back to two teams from both leagues, because this would make the playoffs better.... but I think this takes so many fans away from the game because their teams will be out of it early. I don't know if there is an answer to make both the regular sason and post season better.... Baseball is a different game and it can't compete directly with sports like football. Maybe that's the problem, the season goes too late in the year when the buzz of football is in full swing. I'm all for the tradition of 162 games, but baseball should prob be done a month earlier.
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For me baseball was just as enjoyable with 2 10 team leagues, and no playoffs leading up to the World Series. Championships meant more back then because just to be in position to win one meant you were excellent over an entire year. That a team like the Cardinals that finished 6 games back in 2011 in their own division is flying a 2011 World Champions flag, doesn't compute for me.

 

Baseball is making a mistake trying to be like other sports. At least that's my opinion.

 

I agree wholeheartedly. I can't tell you whether this format is more profitable for MLB than the old-fashioned format (it probably is), but I would care far more if it were truly the best in the NL vs. the best in the AL. Even putting it back at four teams I'd be much more interested.

 

I also think the season is just too long. I love baseball far more than the casual fan, but by the time the playoffs roll around I am ready for football, hockey, and soccer (and college hoops soon enough). Maybe go back to 154 games and get the playoffs over with by the second week of October by nixing some of the off-days.

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This problem with Baseball post season not being a big deal is something that really worries me. I'm not sure what the fix is. I do kind of like the idea of going back to two teams from both leagues, because this would make the playoffs better.... but I think this takes so many fans away from the game because their teams will be out of it early. I don't know if there is an answer to make both the regular sason and post season better.... Baseball is a different game and it can't compete directly with sports like football. Maybe that's the problem, the season goes too late in the year when the buzz of football is in full swing. I'm all for the tradition of 162 games, but baseball should prob be done a month earlier.

 

My biggest worry is not the lack of interest in the post season, but the drastic steps that will eventually be taken to "correct" it. I honestly would not be surprised that if in 20 or 30 years the following 3 things happen in order to appease the lowest common denominator in our population:

 

A) Season cut to 125 games

B) A 15 second (or shorter) "pitch clock" is introduced.

C) The home plate umpire is eliminated and replaced with a tennis style electronic strike zone (or at the very least the HP umpire no longer calls balls and strikes).

 

I could also see shortening games to 7 innings or limiting the amount of pitching changes. All of this would be sad and unnecessary in my humble opinion.

User in-game thread post in 1st inning of 3rd game of the 2022 season: "This team stinks"

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Man I hope you're wrong! I think they need to embrace what they are and who they are. I like the idea (and it slipped my memory) that we could go back to 154 games, that could be a start. Maybe toss in a few double headers? Just to get the season done a little sooner so it's not in direct competition with the NFL for too long. Baseball is a great game but I don't know how many casual fans like to watch a random baseball game. People love to follow their team, but once their team is done our out of the race, they check out. Maybe that's something that MLB just embraces instead of fighting. That's why I guess the wild card additions keeps more fans following their teams longer....

 

I love following the Brewers, but it's pretty hard for me to grab on to the post season. When I do watch, I do love it, but some years it's really hard for me to get in to.

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More playoff series is not really the problem, the problem is unless you are a huge baseball fan or fan of the specific teams playing there is no reason to care about any game until one team has 3 wins. Moving to a 5 game series is a definitely must to begin with. The most interesting playoff games this season were the 1 game play-in games and the least interesting were the World Series. 1 game wild card, 3 game divisional/championship and 5 game world series would make the playoffs much more popular. It wouldn't make them better, just more popular.
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More playoff series is not really the problem, the problem is unless you are a huge baseball fan or fan of the specific teams playing there is no reason to care about any game until one team has 3 wins. Moving to a 5 game series is a definitely must to begin with. The most interesting playoff games this season were the 1 game play-in games and the least interesting were the World Series. 1 game wild card, 3 game divisional/championship and 5 game world series would make the playoffs much more popular. It wouldn't make them better, just more popular.

 

So, diminish the integrity of earning the championship ring in order to make the post-season more "watchable" for the casual fan? Hmm...can't say I agree with this. Just because a "one game" play in was more exciting, doesn't mean it was the right thing to do (just ask the Braves!). I'd rather see them go back to 4 teams in each league than have this silly 1 game play-in. If they are going to continue that format, get rid of the divisions and unbalanced schedules in each league and just send the teams with the best 5 records to the playoffs (with 4 and 5 playing each other in a one game play-in).

 

I would also rather cut the season to 154 games than do anything that would cut the number of playoff games.

User in-game thread post in 1st inning of 3rd game of the 2022 season: "This team stinks"

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For me it was the teams in the playoffs, but since MLB has seen 7 years of consistently poor WS ratings I doubt it's always the teams for most fans. To me the greatest issue with the playoffs is the drawn out schedules. We have a regular season with a few off days per MONTH to a post season where it always seems there's an off day. Tighten the schedule and get away from the travel off days. There's no reason a 7 game series shouldn't be done in 8 days (if it goes 7) and 6 days for the 5 game series. Why did the Yankees/Detroit series start a day before the cards/Giants. Since the Tigers swept and the NL series went 7 there seemed to be a week with only 1 series going. My other beef, which probably doesn't effect the ratings is the continual change of the series locations. A 5 game series should be Home, Home, Away, Away, Home for the higher ranked team and for 7 games - H, H, A, A, H, A, H. The playoffs are huge revenue cows, making the argument that a H, A, H end to the 7 games series is too expensive because of extra travel is MLB pinching pennies. The teams play a 162 game schedule and the best ranked teams deserve the benefit. It was stupid to have the wild card team at home for 2 games to start their series then 3 away.
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You're all thinking too hard. People just don't care about baseball. If any New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago is in the World Series next year the ratings will go up just because they have a larger fan base. But really this is all about people not caring about baseball. That powers that be need to just come to accept it and stop trying to do things to "spice up" the playoffs or any other parts of the game.
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All other indications besides TV ratings indicate that baseball is more popular than ever. It's just not TV friendly in its current format--and while the audience has changed, the game itself has changed significantly as well into a slower, more boring, more drawn out affair.

 

The time and pace of the World Series games is a big problem, which is exacerbated by the poor announcing. There's an extra 30-45 minutes of nothing...long pauses, more pitching changes, commercials. The announcers have nothing useful to add. I watched more of the division series because there was often 2 games on to flip between.

 

I just randomly pulled up the time of game of the 1982 World Series, most of which were high scoring games:

 

2:30, 2:54, 2:53, 3:04, 3:02, 2:21, 2:50

 

Compare that with this year:

 

3:26, 3:05, 3:25, 3:34

 

How does it take 3.5 hours to play a 2-0 game?

 

Some of the other suggestions here would help. Getting rid of the extra off days will help reduce the number of pitching changes. There should also be a limit of the number of time outs that can be called by the batter, pitcher, and catcher. The batter shouldn't be allowed to step out of the box unless he calls time. The pitcher shouldn't be allowed to step off the mound without calling time either. If the batter does not swing at the pitch, he can't step out after the pitch (why they need to adjust their batting gloves after NOT swinging is beyond me). Ending those ridiculous mind games will not diminish the integrity of the game at all, it's just a logical response to the slowing of the game that has occurred in the last 20 years. Imagine how bad it would be if the scoring was still as high as the steroid era!

 

I think they will eventually shorten the season with a few scheduled day/night doubleheaders (separate tickets for each game). It is kind of unfortunate that the sweep happened because the bad weather tonight and tomorrow might have spurred some action with the series going into November again. The season will never be reduced to 154 games. They can cut out a week of spring training. If the temperature projections are correct, warmer baseball weather will be extended by a week or two in a few decades anyway.

 

It seems like the current contract with Fox basically requires MLB to bend over backwards to meet their demands. So when it runs out they should give up a few million dollars to get back their ability to control when the games are played.

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You're all thinking too hard. People just don't care about baseball. If any New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago is in the World Series next year the ratings will go up just because they have a larger fan base. But really this is all about people not caring about baseball. That powers that be need to just come to accept it and stop trying to do things to "spice up" the playoffs or any other parts of the game.

 

I don't buy that the public just doesn't care about baseball anymore, attendance at games is better than it's ever been in baseball history.

 

My reasons for the poor postseason ratings are

 

1. Baseball is viewed as a summer sport by many sports fans who like a lot of different sports. They like attending games in person on a nice summer day/night and follow their teams on TV when not attending games.

 

2. While the overall attendance numbers are very good and so are local ratings for teams, very few of those fans of multiple sports will sit and watch say regular season games which don't involve their home team. I certainly never do. So once the playoffs starts, many regular sports fans aren't really excited to watch teams they don't care much about.

 

3. Football. That is the sport which owns the heart of so many sports fans. Unlike baseball, people in droves will watch NFL games, and not just games involving their favorite team. They'll also often watch some or all of the 3pm game, the Sunday night game, Monday night game, and Thursday night game. Then you have college football on Saturday which also is very popular. That's four days/nights where baseball has to try and compete with the ratings monster that football has become. Of those four nights, any baseball playoff games being played on Saturday and Sunday are especially doomed ratings wise as football is on from noon until 10-11pm.

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To be fair a large part of football being so popular is gambling and fantasy. Another major factor is they only play 16 games. If baseball had a much shorter schedule it would get much higher ratings but not be as good a game. Football is the perfect format for ratings, you won't compete with them on that front without completely revamping the game.

 

You're all thinking too hard. People just don't care about baseball. If any New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago is in the World Series next year the ratings will go up just because they have a larger fan base. But really this is all about people not caring about baseball. That powers that be need to just come to accept it and stop trying to do things to "spice up" the playoffs or any other parts of the game

 

You are welcome to your opinion but this is completely false. Over 60 million people attended games in person this year in baseball which will be more than 20 times as many attend an NFL game, they expanded the TV market and the internet market has exploded. Baseball is still right there with football for most popular sport in the US. The long season, slow pace and erratic schedule just doesn't lend itself to playoffs.

 

I'm a huge baseball fan and I mostly just watch the Packers and the sometimes the Thu/Mon games if I have nothing else to do for NFL, but even I ended up watching the football game instead of game 1 on Thu. I just didn't care about the teams at all and game 1 of 7 doesn't have enough meaning to compel me to watch. If that had been game 5 6 or 7 I very well may have watched but the first few games of a series where I don't care about the teams just isn't worth it.

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I agree with everyone about the playoffs dragging on too long. I really enjoyed all the playoffs this year, but the lull after Tigers beat the Yankees turned my attention elsewhere. I enjoyed the NLCS, but it just seemed to take so long to get to the Series. Still, I think if the Series had gone 6 or 7 games, the ratings would have picked up.

 

The series ended on Sunday, also the halfway point of the NFL regular season. That's too long into the NFL. Football is America's sport, in larger part because every play looks great and exciting on TV, and it's simple to gamble on and set up betting pools. Like it or not, a big reason people follow football, NASCAR, and March Madness is the betting and the camaraderie it creates over a few cold ones in the suburban Man Cave or neighborhood pub.

 

I know lots of people who follow baseball, but once the football pool starts, that dominates the interest and conversation.

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