- Baseball has been referred to as America’s favorite pastime but in most recent history it seems that football has taken over that title from a ratings and sports betting handle standpoint.
- The fast speed of football may be what shifted more people to that sport l but the deep loyalty of fans has kept baseball remaining relevant.
- This year could be the start of sports betting keeping baseball at the forefront because of its perfect fit with the popular in-play betting feature.
NEW YORK – With the delayed season, the MLB season has overlapped with the start of NFL season more than normal, causing some games to be back to back. With this simultaneous action, it may show that football may have taken the title of “America’s favorite pastime” from baseball.
The MLB has been around for over 150 years so it makes sense why it was Americans’ favorite thing to watch and eventually dubbed the national pastime.
But as time has gone on and the American culture has shifted, it seems like the love has left the hearts of Americans or maybe it has just been overtaken by the new king of sports, professional football.
Baseball really can’t still own the title of national pastime if football is America’s most-watched obsession and most bet on. From our own calculations and from reports from Mississippi sportsbooks, only about 15% of sportsbooks’ total betting handle is from baseball wagers while football accounts for about 40%.
Football has crept into tons of hearts around the country and even some minds since a large majority of Americans sit down at least once a year to watch the most dominating, bet on, and viewed event on National television – The Super Bowl.
Fast Speed Has Boosted Football Forward
Americans have grown to love things happening quickly. The culture now thrives off of all things fast-paced like getting information or making food, and sports are no different in that aspect.
Football is all about beating the clock and goes way quicker than baseball because it’s a timed game. In baseball, it’s 27 outs for both teams, no kneeling to have the clock run out, no going to the ground game to eat up the clock, or long huddles to wind down the play clock.
The regular MLB season has 182 regular seasons as opposed to the just 16 regular-season NFL games. Gratification comes quicker in the NFL because once you get to game eight you’re halfway done and counting down the games until the World Champion is named.
Loyalty and Losses Have Kept Baseball Around
Despite the shift to football, there may be a couple of reasons that baseball has not completely lost its nation-wide interest that relate to records and movement.
Having series play in baseball helps teams not have really bad down years and better-looking records. Teams don’t have an 0-16 season and have fans give up on them like in football.
Also, NFL teams move… A LOT and cause fanbases to change. Most recently Oakland loses the Raiders to Las Vegas, the Rams left St. Louis to Los Angeles, the Chargers moved back to its hometown of Los Angeles all in just the last four years. The MLB has only had one team to change cities since 1982.
Could Sports Betting Be The Key For Baseball Popularity?
The MLB has lost some of its popularity but even with the struggles of 2020, there may be a bright side. This season was shortened, delayed, and closed to fans because of the coronavirus pandemic but the league saw an increase of up to more than 4% in TV and streaming ratings.
Because fans were not allowed in the stadiums this season, TV and streaming were the only way for fans to engage but it looks like the rapidly growing legal sports betting industry could help keep eyes watching baseball games.
Now that sports betting is taking the country by storm many are enjoying legal sportsbooks and using the in-play/live betting feature. With in-play betting, players are able to bet on the game while the game is going on in real-time and baseball may be able to capitalize on the slow nature of its games.
“When we talk about the perfect sport for in-play and micro-betting, there isn’t a better sport than baseball,” said Sara Slane, a gaming consultant who advises sports and media properties. “You have a high volume of games and opportunities to bet within those games, but it’s still slow-paced enough to give operators the time to get the data feed to [set odds] and get it out to sports bettors. Baseball will be the true test to see the direct tie between in-play betting and eyeballs watching baseball. It will be a sort of litmus test for the success of true fan engagement through sports betting.”
Baseball could soar because of sports betting by simply being a perfect pace for live bettors to truly benefit and inevitably bring more audiences to baseball.
This perfect combination could increase baseball engagement and even close the gap between which sport is America’s past time because now it’s viewers would be spending time making money along with cheering on their favorite team.
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Adia has a background in sports writing and strives to provide content that gives the readers accurate information. As a storyteller, she also works hard to create stories that are engaging to the audience. Whenever she’s not writing on sports betting news, she is getting her heart broken by every sports team in Georgia.