| March 17, 2018

Column: Losing Interest

May 5, 2016

The months of June and July are routinely celebrated with hot dogs, popsicles and America’s pastime.

But a shift has been evident in Major League Baseball (MLB) throughout the past decade.

A sport that once dominated the world of professional leagues has since seen a drastic reduction in fan interest and ticket sales.

The once lively stadiums that hosted Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle now employ just a fraction of the maximum capacity.

Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners, can hold upwards of 47,000 fans per game. This year’s average attendance at Safeco is only 26,000 fans per game, according to ESPN.

With barely half of the stadium seats sold for each matchup, MLB owners must evaluate the reasons behind low attendance rates.

Explanations have ranged from inflated ticket prices to expensive food and merchandise vendors.

My explanation is very different — baseball does not connect with a fan base passionately seeking excitement.

The drop in baseball interest has coincided with the rise of the internet and the digital age. The unlimited access to information has provided people with a sense of immediacy — people are willing to wait only a brief amount of time before they want results.

This attitude has loosely transitioned to the mindset of sports fans. Many spectators desire a game with a quick tempo, and would rather not to sit through a four-hour baseball game.

And it’s not just the games that are long — the season lasts six months and consists of 162 games for each team.

The sheer amount of games has reduced the relative importance of each matchup. With so many games in a season, why should fans attend games and care about the results?

In contrast, the National Football League utilizes a schedule of 16 games, which means each individual matchup could potentially impact the season.

Even the National Basketball Association employs an 82-game schedule, finding a delicate balance between revenue and fan interest.

The pace of these two sports is also quicker than that of baseball. Basketball teams score within seconds of one another, while every down of a football game consists of action of some kind.

It is difficult for fans to endorse any sport in which failure is the norm, but this is exceptionally the case when the season consists of 162 games.

Josh Grissom can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @GoshJrissom

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1 comment
  1. Belvadier McKnight

    You’ve been on this earth such a short time, young Josh. There’s this thing called tradition that plagues us old timers and some day you will have the same feelings toward such things as MLB and a 162 game schedule. Be patient and try to enjoy life and not be like so many of your millennial comrades. It really is nice to just forget life for 3 hours and enjoy America’s pastime.