is dying amongst the younger generations for one simple reason: it has failed to join the rest of the world when it comes to coexisting with internet .
This is an area where I highly praise other sports organizations like the NHL. Rules may have been broken and loopholes may have been jumped through, but the NHL has never seriously cracked down on the live-streaming of its games and other online media like the MLB. Why? Because they realize that by monopolizing media and placing tight restrictions on games they would be diminishing an important sector of the fanbase—the young fans. Hockey is growing. Every year, I see more and more hockey merchandise around campus, amongst the younger generations.
Time and time again, the entertainment world (which includes sports) has learned the power of the youth. Simply put: we love to share our favorite things. Yeah, we think we’re Oprah. Many even think we have the money to spend like Oprah. The younger generations have some of the highest consumerism in the world—I’ll get back to that later.
Basically, the MLB often still lives in the Dark Age. They have a clause in their collective bargaining agreement which prohibits media access for web sites or blogs. Why? Because they don’t want any video highlights of any game getting posted anywhere other than the prescription service they want you to purchase (some of you may know this as MLB.tv). They also want their site to be the ONLY source of internet coverage.
Problem: Google (which searches blogs like Tumblr for your convenience) and YouTube are the #1 and #3 most trafficked sites on the internet. Hey MLB: nearly 70% of avid sports fans used the Internet in the past 30 days. Too bad MLB pulls every video off the internet and YouTube, claming copyright infringement. No, baseball fans, you have to pay lots of money to see games online, you have to pay to LISTEN to games on online radio, you have to sift through cluttered MLB.com for highlights and interviews, and, baseball bloggers, you can NOT embed any videos. Not even highlights.
My main argument is greatly put by a fellow blogger:
In my opinion, FREE drives brand growth on the internet.The more free material your customers can get, the more likely it is they will be driven to some sort of purchase down the road and become life long customers. (from ChrisWalterbach.com)
The passage above is what NHL and other sports organizations understand, and it’s what the MLB fails to understand. I may watch hockey games online for free, but I’ve spent over $350 this season alone (that’s a lot for a poor college student) on hockey merchandise because of the unprecedented access I have to the games, the players, and the organizations. I feel connected and personally involved with the NHL. I don’t feel that way at all with the MLB.
They should just be so lucky baseball is my one true love, but what about the mainstream fans MLB is trying to gather? Well, the MLB won’t get them. Not until they think younger, expand online access, and, to be blunt, take the baseball bats out of their stingy asses.