Baseball Doesn’t Get It

Today I received a press release heralding the decision by MLB and Fox to televise a World Series game at 6:57pm. The release trumpets the fact that it will be the earlier start time for a World Series game in almost a “quarter of a century”.

Maybe baseball hasn’t noticed, but over that past “quarter century” football became the most popular sport in the U.S.. I still think gambling is a big reason for that, but part of it has to be the fact that kids can actually watch the Super Bowl. It kicks off every year at 6:20 and is usually over by 9:30pm Eastern time. That allows kids in the West to watch the whole thing before dinner and even East Coast children can catch a half of the action. Those kids grew up over the last 23 years (1987 was the last time a World Series game started before 7pm) and they are mostly football fans first and baseball fans second, if at all.

Contrast that with a World Series televised after 8pm on the East Coast. What kid can even start to watch those games? Sadly, it’s taken baseball 23 years to realize that they are alienating the next generation of fans. Moving one game back to 6:57pm will help, but it won’t bring back the legions of fans MLB has lost.