It’s quite a treat that I get to use my two favorite cliches in one headline, but it’s pretty apt!
As Major League Baseball’s Rob Manfred, now chief operating officer, succeeds retiring Commissioner Bud Selig on Sunday, MLB is heading into a new season in its best financial shape in years. In fact, some sports economists argue the sport is gaining ground financially on the National Football League, the most lucrative and popular professional sport.
An expert they quote says that baseball will catch the NFL in terms of revenue sometime in the next two to three seasons due to the highly-lucrative MLBAB digital business and the growth of regional sports networks.
Of course, this is just financial, and that’s just part of the equation. No one is suggesting that baseball will eclipse the NFL in popularity. Indeed, it’d be folly to suggest such a thing. And obviously baseball has a lot of challenges ahead, such as appealing more to younger demographics and ensuring that it does not put too many eggs in the cable TV basket.
But many will, despite the data, suggest that baseball is somehow in trouble when the ratings for some random playoff game falls short of a “Big Bang Theory” re-run. That’s just how life works.