The health of Major League Baseball

Attendance, changing fandom and the health of Major League Baseball

SSRS/Luker on Trends Sports Poll Founder, Dr. Rich Luker, featured in a new article in “The Athletic”

In the middle of an interview about the health of his sport, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred held up his cell phone for emphasis.

“Look, this is a challenge,” Manfred said, putting his phone back down. “It’s a challenge across sports.”

The question was about Gen Z. Back in 1994, a few years before that generation’s arrival, a social psychologist named Rich Luker began to track sports fandom in the U.S. through a poll. It was called, aptly, the Sports Poll.

Luker saw a seismic change in 2010, when the spread of the smartphone took the internet off of the desk. For years, leisure activities had been dominated by two things: television and sports. All of a sudden, cat videos were accessible anywhere.

“Our emphasis for the first 25 years of the Sports Poll was to document the growth and proliferation of sports activity, because it was constantly growing,” Luker said.