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Taking advantage of MLB dropping the ball

Many U.S. sports fans agree that football is America’s pasttime.  Baseball once held that mantle, but lost it probably sometime in the late 80’s or early 90’s to football.  But, baseball has put itself in a much more precarious situation due to the steroids era.  

The danger in the revelations of Alex Rodriguez’s (baseball’s current best player) admission, Miguel Tejada’s (former MVP) conviction, Barry Bonds’ (home run king) trial, and Roger Clemens’ (multi Cy Young award winner) legal battles is that fans may not show the kind of interest in baseball that they have shown in the past.  Scorecards and boxscores may be on their way out.  Fans might have reached the boiling point.  With the economy in shambles, the turnstiles might prove that fans have had enough, and would rather invest their money in other ways.   

This is where soccer comes in.  Can pro soccer gain U.S. sports fans, especially the ones giving up on baseball?  Peripheral baseball fans may be ready to jump ship. 

Baseball is losing fans and interest, this is no secret.  Soccer should act fast to get those sports fans that are dropping baseball, and get them introduced to the passion of soccer.  Maybe its time for a counter marketing campaign, one that focuses on baseball’s downfalls and soccer’s fun aspects of fandom.   

Even with many baseball stadiums not even half full this year, television ratings will still have an impact.  But, the empty stands may affect sports fans’ interest in watching games.  This is a question in the psychology of fandom.  For fans watching on tv, it seems better when the stadium is packed full.

Major League Baseball is betting that its new network,, will be a hit with ratings.  Time will tell.  But, baseball is a slow game for fans to watch, and with the right presentation, soccer can nudge itself more into the minds of U.S. sports fans. 

Professional soccer in the U.S. should be looking to expand its fan base by marketing to sports fans, especially in lieu of what has happened to baseball’s credibility.  Seemingly everyday, there is negative news coming out of the sports world that affects baseball and sports fans’ views of baseball.  As a sports fan, now is the time more than ever to feel apprehensive towards baseball and excited about soccer.

These are America’s two summer sports.  They are competition to each other, whether they like it or not.

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  1. Lars

    February 17, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    God forbid americans actually care about their sports Joey. God forbid they want to chant and have some passion. It’s a slippery slope to barbarism…

    Of course, its just like Canada is a country that has intense ethnic problems, according to you.

    Get real.

  2. Joey Clams

    February 17, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    We have a multi-sport culture in the United States. Relying on high-minded appeals is counterproductive; it pepetuates the widely-held belief, right or wrong, that US soccer fans consider themselves morally superior.

    Sadly, evidence of that is everywhere in US soccer circles. Bigsoccer is a forum for intellectual bullying and cultural one-upmanship. American soccer fans often exaggerate their sport’s unique ability to unite. Some American soccer fans consider enthusiasm for the sport tantamount to political progressivism. Many American soccer fans are eager to correct, to demonize and to punish those who stray from the orthodoxy of American soccer. And the American soccer media is seen as complicit.

    That American fans often deride Midwestern and Southern cities that are or want to be part of the MLS mix can be only be seen as further evidence of American soccer snobbery.

    Chants at MLS, USL and college games are often snide and “commitment” and “intensity” are always cited as the pretext.

    MLS may not realize it but it’s on a slippery slope culturally.

  3. M.

    February 17, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Must agree. Baseball is a fantastic sport, and hardly alone with regards to doping problems. Furthermore, it is still America’s Pastime – a “pastime” is something that gridiron football could never be – if not it’s most popular sport. It is certainly its best-attended sport, however. Soccer and baseball are allies, not rivals.

  4. Perry Stein

    February 17, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    I am a big time soccer fan, back in the day I went to Cosmos games. I still remember the 1966 World Cup final, (England 4- Germany 2-Geoff Hurst Hat Trick).
    Please do not attempt to “sell” the great game of soccer by knocking any other sport.
    Major League Baseball is a dirty business because they attempted to undo the damage of the 1994 strike by offering a steriod freak show of a home run derby featuring McGwire and Sosa.
    But baseball the sport is still a great game, so is soccer, let them co-exist and build up soccer positively, not by putting down another sport.

    Perry Stein

  5. Phillip

    February 17, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Baseball’s attendance marks are at allItime highs.

    Steroids doesn’t hurt that bad.

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