MLB gears up for postseason amidst lackluster viewership

Andrew Hart, Herald Reporter

The MLB postseason began on Sept. 29. The promotion for this year’s postseason was much different than past seasons, according to fans like junior Nick Zwerle.

There have been concerns surrounding the popularity of the MLB over recent years, taking multiple factors into consideration such as falling attendance, poor world series ratings and a lack of nationally recognized stars. This is seen as evidence of the sport’s impending collapse. Add in the lack of promotion this postseason, and things are not looking very good.

“The fan base for the MLB has gotten much smaller,” Zwerle said.

This lack of promotion comes as two of the four major sports within the country are in the midst of intense postseason action, and as one has just begun.

The quieter promotion of the MLB has not been a consistent pattern throughout the season, however. The matchup between the Yankees and Nationals on Opening Day drew four million views, the most-watched regular season game in almost 10 years.

However, ratings dropped off sharply in the weeks following Opening Week, which was likely a result of the fact that the MLB was the first major professional sports league in the country to return to the field.

“There is a lot more hype around the NBA and NFL,” Zwerle said. “People would rather spend the money on something else or go to another event.”

It isn’t just the fact that the league loses viewers because “their teams” don’t make the postseason either. That’s something the league has to deal with every year. It boils down to a lot of factors, many amplified by the unusual format of the season.

“I plan on watching even though I’m a [Red] Sox fan,” said junior Spencer Singer.

“It is ‘America’s pastime’ and right now, we need the fans, but don’t have any because of COVID. These restrictions lower the intensity by so much,” Singer said.

The argument proves to be true across the other three major sports leagues in the country. All three have experienced a drop in ratings during  the year. NBA ratings are down 27%. Last week’s viewership for the Thursday Night Football game was the lowest in four years. At the same time, these major sports leagues have restrictions on in-person attendance.

While leagues like the NFL, NBA and NHL have bonafide “faces of the league” to fall back on like LeBron James, Pat Mahomes and Connor McDavid, the MLB really lacks that.

Yes, there is star power in the league in players like Aaron Judge and Mike Trout, but no one has clearly taken the reins to be the poster boy of the league.