Why is College Baseball Less Popular Than College Football or Basketball?

Baseball has often been termed "Americas' pastime." For more than a century, Americans have flocked to local ballparks to support their teams, socialize with friends, and enjoy the game that has become a symbol of our nations' sporting taste. However, while Major League Baseball has enjoyed incredible popularity for longer than either of Americas' other two top sports-football and basketball-the college version of the game has never enjoyed the same popularity or managed to captivate the public.

Isn't that strange? The country's most popular game for most of the last century (there are strong arguments that football passed baseball in popularity and revenues after the 1994 lockout) has never managed to generate any interest in its collegiate athletes. Whereas college football has been a weekend national custom since the 1940s and college basketball has gained widespread popularity in the last two decades, college baseball remains virtually invisible to American sports fans. The question is: why?

The answer is likely twofold. First, baseball is a slower game than either football or basketball and it does not use frenetic activity to involve fans in the same way as basketball and football. The professional game has flourished despite this because of its iconic status and the exceptionally high level of play (awe inspiring home runs, hundred plus mph pitches, fantastic outfield catches, and the like) but college baseball is played at a much lower skill level. As a result, the game does not generate much interest in person and is veritable boredom personified on the television: a slow-paced game with weaker talent (due to the fact that most of professional baseball's talent comes from overseas or is signed directly out of high school) incapable of spectacular plays is rarely marketable.

Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona.
Thanks to Ken Lund at flickr.com for this photo.

The second reason dovetails with the first: weak marketability generates weak marketing. Despite the iconic status of baseball in general, the games' poor style and low quality has prevented anyone from actively and aggressively marketing it to consumers. College basketball's frenetic march madness period was marketed successfully because its fast paced game, one loss tournament style, and rapid fire approach drew fans in quickly and retained their interest. Similarly, the cutthroat approach of the college football regular season (one loss and you are typically out of the title conversation) and single game bowls can draw fans consistently. College baseball's Regional System and College World Series are slow paced, archaic, and far too drawn out for most fans, which means that, despite baseball's status as "Americas' pastime," college baseball is anything but.

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Meh...Minor League Baseball is the issue Not rated yet
I think a bigger reason for the comparatively small scale of college baseball is the success of minor league baseball. MiLB is a giant compared to the …

Colleges have become a major source of talent for major league baseball (MLB) Not rated yet
One small criticism to the article. Most professional baseball players no longer are signed directly out of high school. There are are a growing number …

College Baseball Not rated yet
nah i dont agree college baseball is way more interesting than basketball both nba and college basketball is basically a one on one game because they are …

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