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MLB response to tanking: more playoff teams?

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9 minutes ago, Redskins Rick said:

Thats what the NBA and NHL has done, pretty much the regular season is an extended warmup for the playoffs.

 

And I stopped watching the regular season in the NHL.  I just start watching the first game of the playoffs.  The regular season is meaningless.   Teams that are invincible all season get knocked out by losing teams in the first round. 

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20 minutes ago, Frobby said:

The Fox media contract is very recent (Nov. 2018), and worth about 50% more than their last deal.    The next ESPN deal is expected to be similar.    I’ve been hearing about how the TV rights market was a bubble since at least 2013, but the reality is that rights fees continue to increase. 

When free agency came along we heard how it would ruin baseball because the Yanks would never lose.  Then the Yanks didn't win the Series for quite a while and actually had a losing season or two in the 1980s and early 90s.  That didn't make it untrue, it just took longer than expected for teams to fully adjust to the new reality.  Now the Yanks haven't had a losing season in 28 years.

The cable bubble might be like this.  We know that teams are heavily subsidized by mandatory cable fees from people who couldn't care less about baseball. Sometimes it takes a long while for obvious inequities, imbalances... whatever you want to call this, to work themselves out.  But they rarely stand forever.  Eventually cable cutting will force MLB into the transition to streaming for many/most people.  It will be a big challenge to get the same revenues out of a quarter or a third of the people.  Even among the die-hards here we'd probably only have a 50% take rate on $100s of year to stream O's games.

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29 minutes ago, atomic said:

I am not sure why they would say the value has gone up that much.  Attendance is down.  TV viewership is down.  People who subscribe to RSN's is down.  Perhaps Forbes is wrong.  

Yea, it couldn't be that your preconceived notions of gloom and despair are wrong. TV viewership is down for all sports, really for all content.  That's as much a function of the splintering of the entertainment market as it is of anything else.  By your model all entertainment is in decline with no floor, and everything people watch should prepare to close up shop sooner or later. 

20 minutes ago, atomic said:

I wouldn't be surprised if ESPN ditched the MLB.  One are of concern for Disney is these money losing Contracts for sports.  I can't imagine MLB is making any money for Disney.  

ESPN Sunday Night baseball average 1.6 million viewers.  Compared to the 12.6 million viewers they averaged for Monday Night football.  And the only reason they draw as much as they do is all the Yankees games on there. If they had an equal distribution of teams on their like the NFL does they probably would average less than a million per game. 

What is the number of eyeballs they need on a MLB game to make money?  How many programs does ESPN regularly air that get a few thousand people watching?  How often to you turn on one of the ESPNs and they're showing a poker tournament or a Pac 10 track and field event, or ODU-UNC Wilmington basketball? They'd sell their soul to the devil to have 10% of the MLB audience for any of those events.

You're only comparing MLB to the NFL, which is more popular and concentrates the audience into 1/10th as many games.  I think MLB would look far better if you pulled NBA, NHL, and soccer numbers, even if those leagues have many fewer games.

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16 minutes ago, DrungoHazewood said:

When free agency came along we heard how it would ruin baseball because the Yanks would never lose.  Then the Yanks didn't win the Series for quite a while and actually had a losing season or two in the 1980s and early 90s.  That didn't make it untrue, it just took longer than expected for teams to fully adjust to the new reality.  Now the Yanks haven't had a losing season in 28 years.

The cable bubble might be like this.  We know that teams are heavily subsidized by mandatory cable fees from people who couldn't care less about baseball. Sometimes it takes a long while for obvious inequities, imbalances... whatever you want to call this, to work themselves out.  But they rarely stand forever.  Eventually cable cutting will force MLB into the transition to streaming for many/most people.  It will be a big challenge to get the same revenues out of a quarter or a third of the people.  Even among the die-hards here we'd probably only have a 50% take rate on $100s of year to stream O's games.

Exactly at a certain point the Cable companies are going to call the RSN's bluff and tell them to hit the road when they demand that they are part of a basic package.  When Disney sold FOX's big bag of RSN's they didn't get top dollar for them.   

People forget with MLB's declining attendance we have had a long long economic expansion.  Most everyone has a job and taxes were cut.  People have plenty of money to go to games if they want to.  They have the money to subscribe to cable.   Look at Disney World Attendance or major Museum Attendance around the world.  They are setting records left and right.  There is over tourism all around the world.  People have money and are going everywhere but they can't make it to a baseball game.  The Aquarium has more attendees than the Orioles.  

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2 minutes ago, TommyPickles said:

Being a fan of baseball during the Manfred era is such a roller coaster.  It feels like you get new rules every year.

This does sound kind of fun, though.

I think it's just stuff around the margins.  A bit of replay here, a tweak to the playoffs there, nudge the strike zone once in a while.  I guess they told players to not kill the catcher so much a few years back.  They still have only changed one consequential on-field rule since 1904.

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7 minutes ago, DrungoHazewood said:

I think it's just stuff around the margins.  A bit of replay here, a tweak to the playoffs there, nudge the strike zone once in a while.  I guess they told players to not kill the catcher so much a few years back.  They still have only changed one consequential on-field rule since 1904.

When they forbid catchers the use of gloves?

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10 minutes ago, DrungoHazewood said:

I think it's just stuff around the margins.  A bit of replay here, a tweak to the playoffs there, nudge the strike zone once in a while.  I guess they told players to not kill the catcher so much a few years back.  They still have only changed one consequential on-field rule since 1904.

They've also expanded rosters to 26 players, changed the playoff format, they've eliminated the LOOGY by requiring bullpen pitchers face at least three batters (regardless of the outcome facing the first two batters), they've added the pitch timer to spring training games, they've added the manager challenge, they've discussed adding the DH to the NL, they've also discussed going with a robotic strike zone. 

Not saying I disagree with all these changes, I actually like a lot of them.  But there have been a lot of changes and proposed changes in the last few years...

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28 minutes ago, OsFanSinceThe80s said:

It’s way too gimmicky and wreaks of Manfred desperately trying to attract younger fans. 

If this idea gets put in place then Manfred will go back to his horrid extra innings proposal of starting each inning with a runner at second base. 

You know, I don’t have any problem at all with Manfred (1) testing out possible rule changes and technological changes at the minor league level and seeing how they work, or (2) floating proposals to change the competitive structure and seeing how people react.    Testing a proposal, or floating one, is not a crime.     Some people may feel that baseball should never change anything, but I’m not one of them.    I personally like the fact that Manfred is open to new ideas.     That doesn’t mean I like all those ideas or am in any hurry to adopt them, but I think Manfred is right to put them out there for examination, testing and debate.    

As to this proposal, I’m still mulling it over, but I probably come down against it.   I read somewhere today that if this structure had been in force the last five years, a 79-win team would have made the playoffs twice and the highest cutoff would have been 84 wins.     For me, that is too low a threshold.    I’m pretty happy with the playoff structure as it is now, and personally, I love the one-game wild card.
 

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The DH?    outlawing the spitball?

Oh no, I bet Drungo is referring to the mandatory minimum outfield boundaries regulations of 1959.    :)

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12 minutes ago, DrungoHazewood said:

I think it's just stuff around the margins.  A bit of replay here, a tweak to the playoffs there, nudge the strike zone once in a while.  I guess they told players to not kill the catcher so much a few years back.  They still have only changed one consequential on-field rule since 1904.

Oh and in addition to the above they lowered the pitcher's mound again in the 1960s.    I'm assuming you see that as relevant since you chose 1904 as your cutoff.

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3 minutes ago, atomic said:

Exactly at a certain point the Cable companies are going to call the RSN's bluff and tell them to hit the road when they demand that they are part of a basic package.  When Disney sold FOX's big bag of RSN's they didn't get top dollar for them.   

People forget with MLB's declining attendance we have had a long long economic expansion.  Most everyone has a job and taxes were cut.  People have plenty of money to go to games if they want to.  They have the money to subscribe to cable.   Look at Disney World Attendance or major Museum Attendance around the world.  They are setting records left and right.  There is over tourism all around the world.  People have money and are going everywhere but they can't make it to a baseball game.  The Aquarium has more attendees than the Orioles.  

MLB is the only one of the major sports with a very long schedule and large stadiums.  The NFL has one game a week.  The NBA/NHL have capacities capped in the high teens or low 20,000s.  I think basketball and hockey could support higher capacity stadiums, but they have a gentleman's agreement to keep prices very high by limiting the number of tickets. So they will be delayed in seeing declines in attendance.  

I think if there were a metric like ticket waiting lists, you'd see similar declines in the NBA/NFL/NHL that you do in real MLB attendance.  Demand has almost certainly declined, but not to the point where it's impacting ticket sales.  I'm sure the O's saw declines in ticket demand years before the almost daily sellout streak ended at OPACY.  I was on the waiting list for season tickets at one point, but by the time the waiting list shrunk enough to get to me I'd come to my senses about driving 2+ hours each way to Baltimore 20 times a year.

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24 minutes ago, DrungoHazewood said:

Yea, it couldn't be that your preconceived notions of gloom and despair are wrong. TV viewership is down for all sports, really for all content.  That's as much a function of the splintering of the entertainment market as it is of anything else.  By your model all entertainment is in decline with no floor, and everything people watch should prepare to close up shop sooner or later. 

What is the number of eyeballs they need on a MLB game to make money?  How many programs does ESPN regularly air that get a few thousand people watching?  How often to you turn on one of the ESPNs and they're showing a poker tournament or a Pac 10 track and field event, or ODU-UNC Wilmington basketball? They'd sell their soul to the devil to have 10% of the MLB audience for any of those events.

You're only comparing MLB to the NFL, which is more popular and concentrates the audience into 1/10th as many games.  I think MLB would look far better if you pulled NBA, NHL, and soccer numbers, even if those leagues have many fewer games.

I don't ever watch ESPN.   But I am guessing the Poker tournament isn't costing ESPN $5.5 billion dollars to air.  I would rather watch a poker tournament than a Yankees vs the Red Sox game.  And that is probably true about most people in that they would rather watch something like poker over seeing regular season baseball games that don't involve their home team.  I suspect that most of the people watching the Red Sox vs Yankees games are either Red Sox or Yankees fans.  And the reason they can get 2 million viewers is that there are a lot of Red Sox and Yankee fans.  And that is why you don't see the A's playing the Rays on ESPN.   Even both have good teams no one cares.  

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7 minutes ago, TommyPickles said:

They've also expanded rosters to 26 players, changed the playoff format, they've eliminated the LOOGY by requiring bullpen pitchers face at least three batters (regardless of the outcome facing the first two batters), they've added the pitch timer to spring training games, they've added the manager challenge, they've discussed adding the DH to the NL, they've also discussed going with a robotic strike zone. 

Not saying I disagree with all these changes, I actually like a lot of them.  But there have been a lot of changes and proposed changes in the last few years...

Compared to 1960?  Sure.  Compared to most other sports, maybe not so much.  The NFL changes things like kickoff and extra point placement and definitions of holding and pass interference and how you can and can't tackle every year and nobody bats an eye.  Basketball changes the 3-point distance all the time.  

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