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Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Baseball Game Times
Baseball is on way too late. I watched last night until the seventh inning, and still missed all the action. They advertised the game as an 8:00 start last night. I know they need a couple of minutes at the beginning for the commentators, starting lineup, national anthem, etc, but the game didn’t even begin until about 8:35. Games should be advertised for 7:00 and start no later than 7:15.

Baseball should be more than just about profits, but I suppose the question is whether one views it as a game or a business (this is also a standard argument for/against instant replay in football). Most people fall on one side or the other. The majority are the fans who love the game, and the minority are the owners/employees/governments who depend on the revenue.

The two don’t have to be mutually exclusive…the new owner of the California Angels slashed ticket prices and beer prices (the only major league owner to do so). He is a huge baseball fan and wants to make it affordable for fans to share in his passion. For under $50, a family of four can all go to the game and get a hotdog and coke. But he’s kind of a supply side guy because he believes that lowering prices and packing the stadium will also be good to his bottom line.

Unfortunately, the Business of baseball is in the driver’s seat, and is very short-sighted. There must be too much money in the specific demographic markets they target for the game times to start so late, but I would think hooking the youngsters into lifelong loyalty, as well as allowing the older people to watch the entire game, would be worthwhile. The irony here is (although they don’t do it) keeping the entire game available for all fans to view is a good long-term strategy for both the game and the business.

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