MSNBCHere's the real reason why, folks... MLB no longer attracts enough people in the target 18-to-34 demographic. It doesn't because the games are too expensive, too many markets are non-competitive due to salary inequities, and hyper-organization, scholarship competitions and parental over-involvement have drained the lifeblood out of youth sports. That, and video games are a lot more fun.
Baseball is excelling, generating $6 billion in revenue last year. But its players are far from a hit off the field. When one looks at the top 10 endorsers in U.S. sports today, none play "America's pastime."
Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter would seem to be a marketer's dream team, but Michelle Wie, a teenage female golfer, hauls in about $6 million more in endorsements each year than the New York Yankee stars combined. And when one thinks of the great commercials of all-time involving athletes--such as Mean Joe Greene and Coca-Cola, or Michael Jordan and Larry Bird hoping to hit "nothing but net"--none star baseball players.
An influx of players from Japan, the Dominican Republic and elsewhere has caused the numbers of U.S.-born players to shrink. Many players from foreign lands grab marketing opportunities in their home countries, while their appeal to U.S. firms is not as strong. And the steroid scandal has also frightened companies away.
Plus, um, Wie's a freak. A-Rod's just a good baseball player. And more than a bit of a tool...