Baseball is struggling to hook kids and risks losing fans to other sports

By on April 8, 2015 is not alone.  As more choices are made available, we are seeing the numbers dwindle in football and as this article points out, baseball is in the same boat.

He saw his son Austins Little League baseball team struggle to recruit enough kids to fill a roster. He saw the rising demands of Austins football team, the growing pressure for kids to focus on a single sport, to specialize even before they hit puberty. The father tried to steer his son toward sticking with baseball because the injury risk is lower than in football, because baseball is a thinking mans game, and because baseball is how father and son first bonded over sports.

The accelerated pace of modern life clashes with the sports imbalance between anticipation and action.

Baseball, for decades now the national pastime only through the nostalgic lens of history, is a thriving business. Revenue is at an all-time high. Attendance in the 30 major league parks and in minor leagues around the country is strong. Baseball players on average make half again as much money as football players. But since he took office this year, Manfred has been sounding a startling warning bell: The sport must address its flagging connection to young people or risk losing a generation of fans.

On opening day of the 140th season since the National League was founded, baseball’s following is aging. Its TV audience skews older than that of any other major sport, and across the country, the number of kids playing baseball continues a two-decade-long decline.

According to Nielsen ratings, 50 percent of baseball viewers are 55 or older, up from 41 percent 10 years ago. ESPN, which airs baseball, football and basketball games, says its data show the average age of baseball viewers rising well above that of other sports: 53 for baseball, 47 for the NFL (also rising fast) and 37 for the NBA, which has kept its audience age flat. Read more…

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