has been the most popular sports league for decades — not only among Americans but also globally. The NFL, however, once held that crown until it was passed by MLB in 2000. Since then, Major League Baseball (MLB), which began play in 1876, has established itself as one of America’s top sporting leagues. It now boasts a fan base comprised mostly of adults between ages 30 and 40. In fact, the average age of MLB fans increased from 31 years old in 2005 to 32 in 2007. And with ticket prices averaging $13 per game and concessions costing about $5 each, these adult fans have plenty of money to spend on tickets and souvenirs.
In 2008 alone, more than 50 million people attended professional baseball games across North America, making it the largest spectator event in American history [Source: Sporting Charts]. This number includes both players’ appearances during spring training and regular season games played outside of their home cities, such as road trips or doubleheaders against teams they aren’t familiar with. A total of 1.6 billion minutes were spent watching baseball games last year, while more time was spent discussing the sport online and via text messages than any other topic. But why exactly does this phenomenon occur? Why do so many millions of us tune into our favorite team every week, especially when there are four major football divisions vying for superiority over each other? What makes baseball stand out amongst the rest? Is it just the fun of rooting for your local ball club, or something else entirely? Perhaps it comes down to tradition. After all, what could be better than sitting back under warm summer skies and enjoying a hot dog, soda and cold beer? Or maybe it’s due to nostalgia. As we know, memories can take you back to simpler times before technology took hold of our lives. Whatever it may be, baseball remains a beloved pastime throughout the United States and around the world, appealing to generations alike.
Baseball Flock Control
There are several reasons why baseball continues to attract new fans. First off, unlike some other sports, baseball doesn’t require expensive equipment like bats, balls and helmets. People don’t need special uniforms or even shoes to enjoy playing the game. You can sit comfortably in jeans and a T-shirt and feel right at home. Second, baseball isn’t overly complicated. There are no rules governing how to bat, pitch or catch. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the ins and outs of the game, a little bit of basic knowledge will help get you up and running. Third, baseball offers great entertainment value. Unlike basketball or football, where scoring points requires constant movement, defensive skills and lots of physical contact, the beauty of baseball lies within the strategic planning of managing a lineup of nine individuals who must work together towards achieving a common goal. Finally, the ability to root for individual teams allows baseball to maintain its own unique identity and legacy.mlb중계방송 No matter whether you support the Boston Red Sox or Detroit Tigers, you’ll still find yourself cheering on your hometown squad.
So how did baseball become so popular? When it first started gaining momentum, it wasn’t necessarily clear that it would ever become successful. Despite having roots dating back to the mid 1800s, baseball didn’t gain widespread attention until after the turn of the 20th century, following the invention of the spitball, a type of illegal ball thrown through the air by pitchers using their saliva instead of cork or rubber. Players used wooden sticks to hit the ball rather than aluminum bats, which had yet to make an appearance. From 1900 to 1915, attendance figures remained relatively low compared to other sports. By 1920, though, things changed dramatically. Suddenly, crowds swelled exponentially as people became interested in witnessing live action instead of reading about it in newspapers. The reason behind this shift was attributed to two factors: national expansion and big business.
During the early days of baseball, players traveled long distances to compete in exhibition matches. For example, in 1903, Chicago White Stockings star player Albert Spalding convinced his manager William Hulbert to travel hundreds of miles away from home to New York City to participate in a series against another team called the Mutual Base Ball Club of Manhattan. Over the next decade, as interest in baseball grew nationwide, managers and owners found themselves traveling further to sign contracts and draw audiences. They realized that bringing rival clubs closer together helped increase sales and profits. Thus, in 1912, President Wilfred Preston Beecher suggested holding a World Series tournament between champions from different states. Soon thereafter, commissioners agreed upon the idea and formed a committee to organize such an event. That same year, the newly created Federal League announced plans to form separate farmhouses in various regions of the country. However, despite the formation of the Federal League, the proposed World Series never came to fruition, largely because of poor management decisions on behalf of the commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis. As a result, the Federal League folded, leaving only three organizations competing in organized baseball: the National Leagues, the American Associations (a group consisting of the St. Louis Browns, Philadelphia Athletics and Pittsburgh Pirates) and the outlaw Federal League.
Aside from expanding nationally, another factor that contributed to baseball’s success was the rise of corporations and multi-billion dollar industries. Companies increasingly needed ways to market their products efficiently, and baseball provided them with a way to reach consumers directly. With advertising budgets increasing, companies quickly discovered that baseball presented a cost effective means of promoting goods and services. At first, businesses merely reserved bleachers along the sides of baseball fields to watch games. Later, entrepreneurs began sponsoring specific teams, allowing them to display advertisements on clothing, caps and stadium banners. Then, in 1922, tobacco company Philip Morris brought the concept of corporate sponsorship to life, founding the “Tobacco Giants” in order to advertise cigarettes exclusively to baseball fans. Other large advertisers soon followed suit, including food processors, auto manufacturers and telephone providers. Because of the tremendous amount of revenue generated by promotional partnerships, the relationship between marketers and baseball remained strong for much longer than others. Today, many baseball stadiums feature prominent signage plastered all over them, bearing logos from brands ranging from Coca Cola to Nike.
As baseball gained wider acceptance, more children joined the ranks of amateur enthusiasts. Parents encouraged kids to practice daily in hopes of becoming future stars. During the 1930s and 1940s, the popularity of youth baseball exploded, resulting in larger parks being built specifically designed to accommodate the influx of young spectators. While there are numerous benefits associated with participating in organized sports, particularly those involving teamwork and competition, research suggests that baseball provides its participants with additional personal rewards. Studies conducted in 1998 revealed that children who participated in baseball reported higher levels of self esteem and overall happiness than those involved in other sports. Furthermore, researchers found that children who played baseball exhibited lower rates of anxiety and depression. Although scientists suggest that participation in baseball might provide mental health advantages, experts caution parents to consider the potential risks posed by excessive exposure to violent collisions and risk taking behavior. Nonetheless, given the positive impact that baseball appears to have had on society, it seems safe to say that more youngsters should continue to embrace the sweet science.
Cohn, Alan L., PhD. “Benefits of Playing Sports.” Web. May 26, 2011
McGrath, Michael J. “Youngsters benefit from playing sports.” Canadian Medical Assoc Journal vol 140 issue 4 pps 396-399 Apr 2003 ebscohost
Schwartzman, Robert M. “Sports Participation, Self Esteem, and Mental Health.” Psychological Science Vol 14 Issue 6 pp 517 – 520 2004
Woolley, John W. et al. “Psychological Effects of Youth Sport Participation: An Overview,” International Review of Research in Social Psychology. Volume 15 Number 2 Fall 1993 p 93-118 ISSN 0267-7348