A Bad Trend

Courtesy of Sportswatch, here are the Nielsen numbers for Game 2 of the World Series showing male viewers, broken down by age group ….12-17 (2.2), 18-24 (2.8), 25-34 (5.6), 35-49 (6.0), 50-64 (9.0), 65+ (14.3). In a separate tweet he notes that the median age of a viewer watching Game 1 was 52 while that of Game 1 of the NBA Finals was 40.

I’ve written about this issue a number of times. But as a baseball fan I can only hope that someone in the MLB offices realizes they are losing the youth of this country. Perhaps these numbers will be a wake up call.

What they mean is that 2.2% of 12-17 year-olds were watching Game 2 while 14.3% of the over-65 demographic were. The reason MLB might pay attention to these numbers is that advertisers really don’t care about anyone over the age of 49. The 18-49 demographic is what advertisers desperately want to reach and if MLB can’t deliver those viewers, advertisers won’t pay premium money for ads during the World Series. Sadly, last Sunday’s Vikings-Bears game drew 16 million viewers and a 6.0 share of the 18-49 audience. That means a regular season football game between two sub-.500 teams (at the time) had more viewers than baseball’s biggest series of the year.

Will the lack of young eyeballs force baseball to make some changes? I hope so. Earlier World Series games would be a great start. It also seems to me that baseball could easily speed up the games if they actually enforced the strike zone and starting calling pitches above the belt, but below the armpits, as strikes. There are plenty of other innovations they could try, but they need to get serious soon. A generation has already grown up without a love of baseball. MLB cannot afford to let that pattern continue.