CNN asks why baseball is no longer "America's Game?"

I’ll post a video from George Will that argues otherwise later.

But for now, read this.

Baseball’s drop in popularity over the years, and especially during my 50 year lifetime, is remarkable.

Consider the following:

Quote: Just 11% of adults listed baseball as their favorite sport to watch in a 2021 Washington Post poll. That put it well behind football (34%) and tied with basketball for the second favorite sport. Soccer and “something else” (e.g. esports/competitive video gaming) were closely behind at 7%.

When examining the poll more in-depth, the problem baseball has becomes both more apparent – and even scarier. A mere 7% of those under the age of 30 say baseball is their favorite sport. This ranked fifth behind football (24%), basketball (17%), “something else” (12%) and soccer (10%).

Quote: Baseball hadn’t ranked as America’s favorite sport to watch since 1960, when 34% said it was. Soccer that year came in at less than 0.5%, while football picked up 21% support. By the next poll Gallup did on the subject in 1972, baseball was second to football.

In the end, the absence of a clock, shot clock, etc. and increasing number of strikeouts more or less ensures that baseball will have less action and more “slow” periods of non-action than any other sport.

To be honest, I like baseball a lot more than soccer…I can’t see how a sport with so little scoring as soccer has gained on baseball in popularity, and even passed baseball in popularity among the young generation.

Talk about lack of action!

But yeah. I too enjoy watching football and basketball more.


I hear this every year:

Baseball is dying and Soccer is taking over

Neither claim is anywhwere close to being true.

Almost all of the MLB stadiums will be packed for opening day (except for franchises that need to be moved, like Oakland).

Oh I got that.

Purely on the basis of number of games and length of season, baseball attendance will still be at or near the top…if for no other reason than because there are so many games, it’s generally easier to get tickets to see a MLB game than NBA or NFL, and, moreover, MLB seems to fill a summer “void” when there’s pretty much no college sports competition and no other major pro sports competition going on; MLS games are way behind in that regard.

But baseball’s status as a “favorite” sport has dropped precipitously during my lifetime, and among young people, soccer, of all things, outpaces it.


Hey listen, I’ve been to a handful of Dynamo games (at Robertson and downtown), and I try to catch Team USA in the men’s and women’s World Cup.

But I still don’t see how a sport which could very well end in a 0-0 tie is more popular than any of the “Big Four” (NFL, NBA, MLB, or NHL).

I’d have to check and see where baseball’s TV ratings are these days. I’m guessing that even top World Series games probably draw smaller market share than almost any NFL game.

For a counter point, listen to George Will.

How many games back in a season in 1960 ? It has a too long season imho. Does popularity
go in cycles ? When home run chase was on, it seemed to be doing fine. Does the steroid use
still tarnish the game ?

Soccer has really been pushed for little kids for last 20+ years , so I can understand why it
finally has measureable audience here. The lack of scoring is personal turnoff for me, but go
watch a bunch of 7 year olds play. They have fun. In regards to lack of scoring, ice hockey is right
there with soccer for me. Does NHL even belong in big four ? ( fyi , yet to read article)

NHL definitely has more scoring than soccer.

A 0-0 tie or 1-0 win is almost par for the course at the highest levels of soccer.

By contrast, it’s possible…but an extreme rarity in hockey.

NHL games are all settled by either a sudden death overtime, or a shootout, so no ties, and a 1-0 finish in any level of hockey competition almost never happens.

Take a look at the NHL scores from a few nights ago:

Every team, even in defeat, scored at least one goal.

1-0 games in baseball are also rarer than in soccer.

As for NHL being “Big Four” of course it is, and the proof is in arena capacity.

Take a look at NHL attendance:

Six teams fill up 17K+ arenas with 100% or better attendance for a 40+ game home schedule, a total equal to the NBA, and while the NBA may have an overall average attendance lead, the NHL still has quite a “cult” following in its markets, even in “warm weather” markets.

I lived in the DC area for years, and on game night, the subways are packed with people in Ovechkin jerseys headed to see the Capitals play, and the sports bars are likewise packed with rowdy fans.

NHL obviously lags way behind the other three in TV revenue; hockey is simply a much better game seen in person and up close than on TV. I can tell you this much, the only NHL game I ever attended, a Washington Capitals v. Ottawa Senators game at the Verizon Center, was an absolute BLAST!!! EXTREME fan energy levels!!! Far different than attending a MLB baseball game, where most people just kick back and have a beer all game.

Actually, by total attendance , baseball is still king with 68 million, and hockey (22 million)is not too shabby. NBA at 21 million and NFL at mere 17 million. Kinda depends on how you count popularity.
More folks go to baseball games then NHL, NBA, and NFL combined.’s_leagues_in_total_attendance_with_a_minimum_of_8_million

Surprised to see that the NHL has a slight lead over the NBA. I knew that the NHL packed a lot of arenas, but I figured the lower end NHL teams would give the NBA an edge.

That data I posted is 4 years old, but the whole actually attendance thing shocks me.

NRG, one big difference might be that there is 162 gms in baseball season compared to 82 for NBA Basketball n around that same # for NHL Hockey. Just a thought.

Edit: to add to that most baseball stadiums hold 40-50k, where basketball/hockey will be in the 18-20k range for their arenas.

If that’s all the soccer you’ve seen then I could understand why you think soccer is boring lol. Its like trying to tune in to the 10th best baseball league worldwide… would be boring, no?

Not necessarily.

I enjoy college baseball games, for example, and they are Low-A ball equivalent at best.

Soccer doesn’t do much for me, although I’ve had a decent time at MLS games, and, as I said, I try to follow USA teams in the World Cup.

Yeah but it’s not a fair comparison if all you watch is MLS and USA in the World Cup… Americans/American League sport aren’t the best in soccer like they are in football/baseball. I’d suggest you watch an English Premier League game or a South American/European tournament if you want to watch high quality soccer.

The whole scoreboard being correlated with entertainment is a whole another issues… which I don’t necessarily agree with either. NFL and NBA are both “pro offense” leagues in the sense that they protect the offensive player a little too much… and that’s to put points on the scoreboard. But just because Team A beat Team B 150-110 doesn’t make it more entertaining than a lower scoring, physical BBall game from the 90s. Imo

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When I watch soccer games, I get bored waiting for someone to score, regardless of the level.

I never have that problem to the same degree watching any other sport. As I said, even baseball and hockey are higher scoring.

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Baseball is a dying sport, literally when you factor the average age of their fans compared to other sports. They have been trying to appeal to a younger crowd with mixed success.

I love to hear the nostalgia of baseball by guys like George Will and Bill Bryson and I loved field of dreams.

But it is hard to argue that Football, both college and pro, are kings.

You have NFL numbers for attendance, but you should also add in college football, college football is just as big a business and sport bigger stadiums than what NFL teams play in.

Not sure soccer will ever capture the heart of the average American fan, maybe winning a WC? But the MLS is way down on pecking order of having the worlds best players. The MLS is where stars who are at the end of their careers come to cash in one last pay check.

154 games. Too, with no playoffs, the Yanks and a handful of teams would put the pennant away by August, then meet in the WS. Pretty deflating for fans of the other teams. I’m 70, so I remember that Red Sox feeling…

Speed up the game. Period. Baseball Games Are Still Too Long—and Getting Longer - The Ringer

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Baseball is like reading a book. Every game is like reading a new chapter and you have to invest in reading the entire book.

Football and Basketball games are like watching a movie.

A pundit once opined

“Baseball is what America was. Football is what America has become.”


Oh yeah, that 162 games/season is a lot by all margins. But still that’s
68 million people getting off the den sofa, driving to games, etc. versus the
crowd that goes to NHL and basketball arenas and football stadiums.

82 games/season NHL + 82 gmail/sea NBA + 17 gm/sea NFL = 181 games/ season .

And good old baseball bests them in total attendance. Not what I would have expected,
but is what it is.

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More like watching a video game.

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