Before I jump in, I’d like to add a somewhat unrelated note: I really think MLB.TV needs to lift its blackout rule for local games. It should have been done last year since fans weren’t able to attend games. I think that would at the very least, add to its viewership.
It probably goes without saying that I love baseball but a lot of people will argue the MLB is missing something that other sports have – a face, or maybe I should say “faces.”
I’m talking about players recognizable not just to fans of a certain team and not even fans of the sport. Even non-football fans recognize guys like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Dak Prescott and several others. Non-basketball fans know who LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and many others are without being told.
With that being said, I might be wrong but I don’t think the list of recognizable names and faces in baseball is nearly as big as that of football and basketball.
My guess is most people know who Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw are, especially since many people consider Trout to be the best player in the sport right now and Kershaw is coming off his first World Series win. Perhaps Albert Pujols belongs in the discussion as well but his career will be at an end soon. It was hard to not know where Derek Jeter and David Ortiz were when they were playing but their MLB careers are in the books.
It seems as though most people don’t consume baseball the same way as they do other sports. The MLB is more a regional thing. A lot of fans will watch as many games of their own team as possible but won’t pay a second of attention if their team’s not playing, unless it’s the postseason. Most football fans, however, will watch regardless of who’s playing because it’s on. I’ve often found myself tuning into a game like the Jets vs. Bengals even though I have literally no cares in the world about who wins it. I just want to watch some football. With basketball, people have their favorite teams and players but will also watch others play as well. Fans have a love-hate relationship with James and will either tune in either to see him win or see him lose but regardless, they’re watching, in large part, because he’s one of the faces, if not the face of the NBA.
Would adding a few faces to the league help with MLB viewership? Who do you think is the face of the league? What do you think the league should do in order to increase viewership? Does the league need a facelift?