Heading into Major League Baseball’s 2010 regular season, the New York Yankees are favored by fans nationally to win this year’s World Series. Regardless of the team they support, 33% of fans think the Bronx Bombers will be victorious in the fall. Their bitter rivals, the Boston Red Sox, are a distant second with 11% saying the team will claim bragging rights this year, and the Philadelphia Phillies slide into third with 6%. The Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals receive the nod from 3% of fans.
But, which team has the biggest fan base? The New York Yankees edge out the Boston red Sox for top honors. 11% of fans say they pledge their loyalty to the Yanks, and 10% hold true to the Red Sox. 8% cheer for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and 7% claim the Chicago Cubs as their team. And, rounding out the top teams, 6% root for the Cardinals, and an additional 6% do the same for the Atlanta Braves.
Baseball is known as America’s pastime, but does it deserve the title? 48% of Americans say they watch the sport at least a little. This includes 9% who tune in a great deal and another 9% who catch a good amount of games. 30% watch baseball a little compared with 52% who don’t follow it at all.
Nearly a quarter of baseball fans nationwide — 24% — report they cannot watch their favorite team in their TV viewing area. 71%, on the other hand, can. 5% are unsure.
Out-of-market fans are most prevalent in the South with 34% reporting they cannot watch the team they root for in their TV viewing area. 24% in the West, 18% in the Midwest, and 14% in the Northeast say the same.
Take Me Out to the Ballgame… Or Not!
Major League Baseball may need an image makeover. Half of American baseball fans say they did not attend a baseball game last year, and they don’t plan on going to one this year. 29% say they will venture to the stadium about as often as they did last year, and 14% report they have every intention of going to more. 7% say they are going to attend fewer games this year.
What do fans think about the cost of a baseball ticket? 56% don’t think they are a good value for the money while 34% believe they are. 10% are unsure. In an April 2009 Marist poll, 57% of fans thought prices were a rip off. 31% said they were a good value, and 12% were unsure.
Interestingly, more fans who root for teams in the American League, compared with fans of National League teams, say the cost of a ticket is not a good value for the money. 61% of fans who support an American League team and 54% of those who back a National League team believe the cost of Major League Baseball tickets is out of line.
Age and region also come into play here. 61% of fans 45 or older report baseball tickets gyp the consumer while 47% of those younger than 45 agree. Around the country, 73% of those in the Northeast, 56% of fans in the Midwest, 51% of baseball lovers in the West, and 49% of those in the South share this view.