The new Major League Baseball (MLB) season has just started. Aren’t you excited? No? You wait until October before you tune in? Ah, okay, fair enough.
The MLB regular season has 162 games. Not in total, per team. That’s close to 5000 (!) games before the Playoffs begin. What’s the point in having so many games?
From a sports perspective I would agree that you need more games than e.g. in soccer to determine which team is the better one, considering different pitcher matchups etc. But 162 game days? Give me a break!
If you have ever been to a regular season MLB game you will quickly realize the low intensity among the spectators. A lot of them don’t turn up until the 3rd or so inning, others leave the ball park one hour beore the game is over, and the remaining ones spend half of their time cueing for food and drinks or consuming them.
A single game is just not important. The product is diluted. Just to illustrate the magnitude of this: The National Football League (NFL) with a regular season of 16 game days is more profitable than the MLB.
What do you do when your product is ubiquitous but unimportant? When it is everywhere but no one cares?
How about shortening the supply and making the remaining offering more important!
Transfered to the MLB this could be the achieved by cutting the regular season and extending the playoffs. If e.g. the regular season would be reduced to half of the games, I don’t believe that it would have a huge impact on the teams’ classifications in the league table. The good teams would still top the league, no matter if after 162 or 81 games.
The other thing that strikes me about the MLB is that after 162 games in regular season, the playoffs only consist of three round and 8 teams. And as soon as the playoffs start we are in a completely different ball park, to use a picture from the same sport. Attendance goes up and people are following the games intensely. The games are heated up.
One more round of playoffs, one more round of intesity, could really help to fight the boredom.
These ideas are not knew nor are they very complicated, but they have never been put in place or tried. Like with many innovations, the people in charge are more afraid of what they could lose than eager to see what they could win. If you cut the regular seaon half, you lose ticket sales, revenue from hotdog stands, from TV advertising and so on. In turn you get a better product and only a vague idea of how to turn this into profits.
There will always be more reasons not to go for an innovative idea if you just search long enough. But once your customers have turned away from you because they are bored from your products or services instead of fascinated it will be too late. They won’t come back. To me this sounds like a bigger risk.