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What Has to Happen to Bring Fans Back to the Old Ballpark?

August 08, 2019 - 6:34 pm

By Charlie O @Charlieo1320

Listen to your team news NOW.

Attendance for Major League Baseball games is projected to be down for the fourth consecutive season. About 68.8 million fans are expected to attend an MLB game in 2019 according to an attendance modeling program from Two Circles. That would be a decline of 1.3 percent from 2018 when 69.7 million people went through the turnstiles.

MLB knows it is in trouble and is testing a number of changes

  • The biggest change – but still not officially acknowledged – is the “juiced” baseball. The seams are lower, the covers are smoother and baseball admits the pill (the rubber ball center) is now more accurately centered than ever before. The result has been a record number of home runs, and the fans love it.
  • Efforts to speed up the game: limiting the number visits to the mound by the manager, pitching coach and catcher are helping. Making the batter keep one foot in the batter’s box help to keep things moving. They are even experimenting with a pitch clock that would require the pitcher to throw a pitch within 20 seconds after receiving the ball.
  • There is even a plan that would require a relief pitcher to face at least three batters before he could be replaced by another pitcher (I really hate that one).
  • There are other things that can be done to speed up the game, but baseball needs to do more than speed up their games.

Going to a game has to become a “full social & entertainment experience”

No game lends itself to the “social experience” more than baseball. Now that teams are going to extend the netting to protect fans from “hot” foul balls, people will be able talk freely without feeling like they have to concentrate on every pitch. Baseball needs to “cash in” on that opportunity to be more social.

  • More boxes – both on the lower and upper level with tables and swivel chairs. Everybody wants a luxury box even if they cannot afford one. Have serving staff come and take their food and drink orders so they do not have to miss any of the action standing in line for a beer. Plus, add a flat screen television to let them keep up on other games (including football) that they might want to follow.
  • The Sabr.org section: with tables and stat monitors for the game that is being played with access to stats from all games around the majors. “Stat geeks” could be arguing, running numbers, drinking beer and having a great time while watching a game.
  • The “Fantasy/Fanduel/Draft Kings section: designed for fans that are really serious about their fantasy baseball. Monitors with highlights from all games plus stat monitors and player stats so the fans would know how their daily choices are doing.
  • “Recliner Alley” – just push the recliner back, relax and enjoy the game with a beer and hot dog in hand.
  • “Hot tub world” – relax in the bubbles, sun bathe and enjoy the game with adult beverages.
  • “The Poker Section”: have poker games going on with the tables set up for the players to be able to watch the games while playing cards.

This is a biggie: Reduce the number of games                                     

  • There are just too many games and frankly, people lose interest. I know the argument: if you cut the numbers of games, then you have cut salaries. My counter to that is: if you cut the number of games, people will come out to more games because each game is more important.
  • My suggestion is to cut the season to 144 games. If that works well, then look to make one more cut to approximately 120 games.

There are many other great ideas to make the game of baseball more fan appealing, and we will be sharing more of those in the near future. In the meantime, send us your ideas on Twitter @Charlieo1320 for making baseball more fun to attend. We will share the best ideas with you right here on ESPN1320.net.

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