While baseball has been pained as a stogy old-man’s game, the fact is that, yes, MLB has a young audience. As the 2012 season gets fully underway tomorrow when the Marlins host the Cardinals on ESPN, Scarborough Sports Marketing has released data on Generation Y Major League Baseball fans. Generation Y, defined as American adults age 18 to 29, make up 20% (46M) of the American adult population and 44% of them are MLB Fans. According to Scarborough:
- 30% of Gen Y MLB Fans are willing to spend $25-$49 on a single game MLB ticket.
- 12% of Gen Y MLB Fans are interested in purchasing season tickets.
- Gen Y MLB Fans are 37% more likely than all MLB Fans to have bought MLB apparel with a team logo in the past 12 months.
- The season opener will be between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Miami Marlins. 72% of Gen Y St. Louis residents watched, attended or listened to a Cardinals game in the past year and 36% of Gen Y Miami residents watched, attended or listened to a Marlins game in the same time period.
Some thoughts on the report…
The idea that less than a third of Gen Y MLB fans are willing to purchase a single game ticket in the defined price range isn’t exactly great news. While there are tickets priced below that threshold, the majority of tickets, aren’t.
On the flip side, you get 12 percent interested in purchasing season tickets. The bad news is, Scarborough doesn’t say how many of that 12 percent actually acted on it.
The third bullet point is interesting in that baseball merchandise is seen as a fashion trend that is increasing. One need only look at some of the colorway options available (pink hats for women, all red Yankee or all green Red Sox, as well as pretty much all teams represented as black hats with black logos) shows that MLB as a purely fashion statement – something that may be outside of interest in “baseball” – is trending with Gen Y.
On the last bullet-point… well, this should be expected. The Cardinals, of course, won the World Series last year. The Marlins haven’t been relevant since last winning the World Series in 2003. However, getting back to the “fashion” aspect, while one can quibble with whether the new Miami Marlins logos and uniform colors “work”, it is new, and in that, fans will likely purchase the merchandise. And, let’s not forget that the additions of Jose Reyes, Mark Buerhle, Heath Bell, and Ozzie Gullien (plus having the Marlins be the subject team for this year’s edition of “The Franchise” on Showtime) will give the Marlins increased marketability. Expect interest in the Marlins to go up considerably this year.
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Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).
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