According to a Washington Post feature from April of last year, Major League Baseball attracts an average audience aged 53 – significantly older than the NFL (47) and the NBA (37).
Comments about the “integrity of the game” and talk about the “unwritten rules” of baseball don’t really help to entice the younger, social media-savvy sports fan.
So how can MLB solve this dilemma?
“Let us express ourselves with our shoes,” Price told WEEI.com. “They say the shoes make the man. We need to be able to express ourselves. If we can’t express ourselves [like] guys want to, or we can’t express ourselves to the media like guys really want to, we’re puppets. We don’t need all the control, but we want to be able to control ourselves, and not be a puppet with a puppet-master hanging over us with the strings.”
Price, who’s endorsed by Jordan Brand, believes small touches like personalized cleats or batting gloves could go a long way in making baseball as appealing to younger demographics as basketball or football appear to be.
“[Kids will] say, ‘those are sick shoes. Those are awesome batting gloves.’ That’s what they see. That’s what they look at,” Price said.
At the moment, MLB’s rules state that a player’s cleats must possess at least 51 per cent of a team’s colours. According to the WEEI story, Price has brought up trying to change this with both MLB commissioner Ron Manfred and the player’s association head Tony Clark.
So, will more personal touches to player equipment actually help bring younger eyes to the sport? With the rules as they are now and with the audience seeming to be skewing older, Price’s idea couldn’t hurt, could it?