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Evan Weiner with the Politics of Sports Business

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While the sports media keeps pushing the Mets-Cubs National League Championship Series and how well it is doing ratings wise, neither the Mets-Cubs series nor the Blue Jays-Royals series in the American League is lighting up the Nielsen TV ratings scoreboard.

I’m Evan Weiner with the Politics of Sports Business.

It is a fair assessment, Major League Baseball is long past the old  nickname of America’s Pastime. More people are interested in watching football both college and the pros. Sunday night’s NFL matchup between New England and Indianapolis on over-the-air NBC TV tripled the ratings of the Mets-Cubs game on cable TV, TBS. The New York and Chicago markets are the two of the top three in the country with New York at 1 and Chicago at 3. It appears when the cable TV ratings come out later today that AMC’s Walking Dead will beat out the Mets-Cubs game on TBS Sunday night. So what has happened to baseball, a game that the French philosopher Jacques Barzan once noted was essential to Americans. Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball, the rules and realities of the game — and do it by watching first some high school or small-town teams. That was Barzan.

Baseball was surpassed by football in popularity and that happened in 1965. In 1950, baseball, horse racing and boxing were Americans three favorite sports. But with television needing programming, other sports were given exposure, football, basketball, golf, hockey and even boxing although boxing would gradually fade out and become a niche sport. A few generations back the World Series was the crown jewel of American team sports and baseball seemed to have no competition. In 2015, the baseball playoff competition includes football, soccer, hockey and pre-season basketball and other sports. Sure baseball is stuffed with money thanks to TV today but it is just another sport. The Mets-Cubs ratings aren’t much to write home about, eight or nine million viewers. Baseball is no longer the national pastime.

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner

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