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Why is baseball a poor "niche" sport?

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  • Why is baseball a poor "niche" sport?

    I've noticed that, unlike the other three major sports leagues, MLB has no teams which are the only team in its city/market. Other sports leagues have successful franchises in one-team markets like Green Bay in the NFL, San Jose in the NHL, and Portland in the NBA to name a few. It's been decades since MLB moved into a market that wasn't a well-established sports market. The only one that's even been seriously considered in recent decades is Northern Virginia.

  • #2
    Baseball had many one sport towns until the other sports came around and started piggybacking.

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    • #3
      For Hockey and Basketball, is it possible that to add a Basketball or Hockey franchise is not that much of a risk, like it is to add a baseball team? Think of it this way. If your attendance fails and your team ends up moving out, you're left with a extremely costly stadium, that you can't do anything with. However, with a hockey arena or a basketball arena, the secondary uses are basically limitless. So you could say there's much less risk by adding a Hockey or basketball team to your city. You have to be much more careful where you put baseball teams...

      Just my 2 cents.
      AL East Champions: 1981 1982
      AL Pennant: 1982
      NL Central Champions: 2011
      NL Wild Card: 2008

      "It was like coming this close to your dreams and then watching them brush past you like a stranger in a crowd. At the time you don't think much of it; you know, we just don't recognize the significant moments of our lives while they're happening. Back then I thought, 'Well, there'll be other days.' I didn't realize that that was the only day." - Moonlight Graham

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      • #4
        Originally posted by The Dude View Post
        For Hockey and Basketball, is it possible that to add a Basketball or Hockey franchise is not that much of a risk, like it is to add a baseball team? Think of it this way. If your attendance fails and your team ends up moving out, you're left with a extremely costly stadium, that you can't do anything with. However, with a hockey arena or a basketball arena, the secondary uses are basically limitless. So you could say there's much less risk by adding a Hockey or basketball team to your city. You have to be much more careful where you put baseball teams...

        Just my 2 cents.
        I think that hit the nail right on the head Mr. Dude.

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        • #5
          Green Bay is a weird sort of situration, it was one of the first NFL teams when the NFL wasn't big yet and they had teams in cities like Canton, Ohio. They just got really popular and successful and where lucky enough to stay in the leauge until they became an institution. I would be like if some how the Troy Haymakers stayed in the NL.
          39 AL Pennants • 26 World Series titles
          2003 • 2001 • 2000 • 1999•1998 • 1996 •1981 • 1978 •1977 • 1976 • 1964 • 1963 •1962 • 1961 • 1960 •1958•1957 • 1956 • 1955 • 1953 • 1952 • 1951 • 1950 • 1949•1947 • 1943 • 1942 • 1941•1939 • 1938 • 1937 • 1936•1932 • 1928 • 1927 • 1926 •1923 • 1922 • 1921

          :bowdown:1•3•4•5•7•8•8•9•10•15•16•23•32•37•42•44•49 & soon 2•6•20•21•51•42

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          • #6
            I was thinking Population might have something to do with it. Bear with me here, this is just a little bit of data I came up with.

            Code:
            R1=Ranking of city in population when they got their first franchise,
            RB=Ranking of City in Population when they got their Baseball Franchise,
            
            City:               Year-R1         Year-RB
            Phoenix, AZ         1968-20          1998- 6
            Dallas, TX          1960-14          1972- 8
            Miami, FL           1966-42          1993-46
            Denver, CO          1968-25          1993-26
            Tampa, FL           1976-53          1998-57
            AL East Champions: 1981 1982
            AL Pennant: 1982
            NL Central Champions: 2011
            NL Wild Card: 2008

            "It was like coming this close to your dreams and then watching them brush past you like a stranger in a crowd. At the time you don't think much of it; you know, we just don't recognize the significant moments of our lives while they're happening. Back then I thought, 'Well, there'll be other days.' I didn't realize that that was the only day." - Moonlight Graham

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            • #7
              Originally posted by The Dude View Post
              I was thinking Population might have something to do with it. Bear with me here, this is just a little bit of data I came up with.

              Code:
              R1=Ranking of city in population when they got their first franchise,
              RB=Ranking of City in Population when they got their Baseball Franchise,
              
              City:               Year-R1         Year-RB
              Phoenix, AZ         1968-20          1998- 6
              Dallas, TX          1960-14          1972- 8
              Miami, FL           1966-42          1993-46
              Denver, CO          1968-25          1993-26
              Tampa, FL           1976-53          1998-57
              It would probably be better to look at metropolitan area population rather than city population.

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              • #8
                On the other hand, there are a hundred or so towns where minor league baseball is the only professional game. You could have asked, why is there so little support for minor league basketball, minor league football, and minor league hockey?

                Just another way to look at it.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by spark240 View Post
                  You could have asked, why is there so little support for minor league basketball, minor league football, and minor league hockey?
                  Are you kidding? Ever hear of the Final 4?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by dgarza View Post
                    Are you kidding? Ever hear of the Final 4?
                    Of course. That's my point. Many people haven't heard of professional minor league basketball--and if they have, they don't get too excited about it--because colleges commandeered the developmental function, and the profits, and the interest, of what otherwise could have become widespread professional minor leagues in basketball and football.

                    Some would say that this has become a semantic distinction, and we should just acknowledge that the college basketball and football programs are the minor leagues of those sports, start paying the players openly, and stop pretending that they're students. Then we'd have the question of why the teams are affiliated with colleges, and why the colleges should be retaining the profits.
                    Last edited by Pere; 05-14-2008, 08:09 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Because MLB allocates revenues in an archaic and inefficient manner, a team must be (mostly) self-sustaining to survive. If MLB allocated revenues like the NFL, you could easily have a 32-team league that was more competitive than the 30-teamer we have now.
                      4 5 (7) 8 20 22 33 42 (44)

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                      • #12
                        Another important point: cities will build shiny new arenas to attract NBA and NHL franchises, but even if a new team doesn't come into fruition, that arena is still going to create a huge revenue stream. Even without the NBA or NHL, there's still college basketball (should a major university be in the vicinity), the NCAA Tournament, the Frozen Four, Arena Football, AHL hockey, indoor lacrosse, indoor soccer, high school basketball tournaments, tennis matches, boxing and wrestling cards, figure skating, and every other sort of indoor sporting event that I haven't listed. Not only that, a new arena makes the city a desirable host of major concerts, conferences, and conventions. Heck, even an NFL-sized football could get by on a music festival, an international soccer match, and a college bowl game a year. However, there's just not that much use for an MLB-standard baseball stadium besides hosting 81 major league games a year.

                        In addition, an NBA or NHL team could get by for a year or two in an existing medium-sized arena (10,000-15,000 capacity) while waiting for a new one to be built. An MLB team cannot exist in a 12,000-seat AAA ballpark for more than a week.
                        Last edited by Transplanted Fan; 05-16-2008, 12:53 AM.

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                        • #13
                          I think baseball is better as a niche sport. What ruined football and turned it into more theater than athletics is the explosive popularity. I would rather have baseball be big with the true fans and have the fakers stay away from it.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by hudsonharden View Post
                            I think baseball is better as a niche sport. What ruined football and turned it into more theater than athletics is the explosive popularity. I would rather have baseball be big with the true fans and have the fakers stay away from it.
                            That is a very ironic statement to make considering that it is widely believed that MLB "is more popular today then ever before" and enjoys "record attendance levels". At least that is the angle that Selig seems to like to play up.
                            I'm willing to bet that among the record attendance is a huge percentage of "fakers", "Casual fans" and couples just looking for some nuetral type place for a first or second date.

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                            • #15
                              Actually the smaller towns have minor leauge teams that they support big time. Towns like Little Rock, Nashville...ect are simply crazy about their AA and AAA teams. I remember when I was stationed at Little Rock I used to go to Travelers games all the time and it was the best baseball I ever saw.

                              Even now box seats are only $10 at Travelers games. All over America, most of all small town America, minor leauge baseball is a huge industry.

                              So just looking at the bigs is not a real clear picture about the popularity of professional baseball in the smaller cities and town. The NFL doesnt have professional minor leagues that are affiliated with the NFL.

                              Truth is professional baseball, both majors and minors, is a huge presence in America. If youve never gone to minor leauge games then you have missed out on some tremendous baseball.
                              "Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids. Period. I don't know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never." :hyper:

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