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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Is Baseball Still "America's Favorite Past Time"? Ratings Say "NO"

Last night while flipping between an NBA game and Monday Night Football I almost forgot that the San Francisco Giants were on the verge of a World Series clinching victory over the Texas Rangers. You would think that with the amount of my time that is spent on espn, yardbarker, etc. that there was no way I would miss this. But alas, I almost did. And I began to wonder if more of America felt the same way...

So when I got the chance today I decided to look up rating for last night. Here's what I found. World Series Game 5 had a national rating of 10.6, beating the Indianapolis Colts vs. the Houston Texans ratings of 8.6, but slightly lower than the 10.8 rating drawn by ABC's Dancing With The Stars. That means that more people were interested in watching Bristol Palin waltz than the Giants win their first championship on 56 years. Ouch.

There has been a many a water cooler discussions regarding whether baseball still holds true as "America's Favorite Pastime". Yes, baseball is indeed the longest running professional sports league in America. But in recent years baseball's popularity has been taking a major hit for a number of reasons. There was the strike back in 1994 (which was MLB's 8th work stoppage). You have the whole steroid era, which tainted many of the most recognizable figures in baseball at the time. As mentioned, there could be a number of reasons.

I think you can gauge a sport's popularity based on one major thing: money. Which sport has the highest ticket prices? The average baseball ticket would run you about $26.75, an NBA game would cost you about $48.90 and a trip to see your favorite NFL team would set you back on average a whopping $76 and some change. For the fans who don't particularly like to attend live sports events, NFL games also kill the game in TV ratings and their ad spots are perennially highest to purchase (for a 30 sec spot. Trust me on this). Hmmm...

So does that mean the NFL is replacing Major League Baseball as America's favorite sport? Tough to call but as the saying goes, "men lie, women lie; numbers don't."


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