Monday, September 15, 2008

Passing Up the “National Pastime”!

I always thought American baseball took pride in being known as the “national pastime.” To me “national pastime” means the sport of the American family; the sport that — regardless of gender or age or origin — almost anyone can play; and finally, the sport that brings millions of Americans together, regardless of income level and regardless of whether you are a participant, a fan or even have passing interest.

As ardent a capitalist as I am, I can’t understand why Major League Baseball would permit the Mets and Yankees (and probably other teams) in their new stadiums to charge nose-bleed ticket prices, thereby dramatically eroding our national pastime’s image by closing out the opportunity average families have to buy good seats, unless they want to “burn in the bleachers.”

We recently learned that the average cost for the most prized Mets seat at Citifield will be $494, a 79% increase over current rates. And at Yankee Stadium: $2500. They go down from there – as no doubt will middle-class fan attendance.

Is this the way to grow the game, inspire a broad fan base, encourage children to participate, build support and compete with other sports? As baseball caters to corporate expense accounts, they lose the largest segment of society from where their fan base has emanated.

While football is no less guilty, there are only roughly 16 games per season compared to more than 10 times that number in baseball. Greater supply. Lower demand. More affordable pricing. Isn’t that the smarter strategy?

Technorati Tags: National Pastime, baseball, sport, Major League Baseball, baseball ticket prices, middle class, Mets, Yankees, business, communications, public relations


Anonymous Anonymous said...


What a great post.

Let's hope supply and demand work this out! I see another problem with MLB: so many of the games are evening games that go late into the night. It's great for TV, it's bad for cultivating young fans. My three year old loves the Red Sox, but he rarely sees a game because of scheduling. I'm not asking MLB to cater to the preschool set, but getting young fans is important.

The NFL has night games, but there are also Sunday afternoon games. It's not unusual for families to attend church in the morning, and spend the afternoon watching a football game together. No wonder football is beginning to show up as America's favorite sport in some polls.



Monday, September 15, 2008 6:07:00 PM  

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