The 2016 calendar year has been successful for Major League Baseball. In fact, 2016 has already been the most successful financial year MLB has ever seen.
“Major League Baseball continues to grow at a phenomenal rate around its business,” Maury Brown of Forbes reported. “As the calendar year nears its end, the league can report that gross revenues for 2016 are approaching an incredible $10 billion. The figure marks the 14th consecutive year that baseball has posted record revenues. Growth for the league was approx. a half-a-billion dollars for the year. That mirrors the growth seen in 2015.”
When growth like this occurs, it begs an important question.
What’s causing it?
“The league continues to see incredible growth around its digital media company, MLB Advanced Media, as well as stable attendance, growth in sponsorships, robust television ratings at the local level, and positive television ratings not seen in over a decade for the postseason” Brown said.
Baseball can expect the postseason ratings to taper off. The last two years have seen the Chicago Cubs make deep postseason runs in an attempt to win their first World Series since 1908. A big market team looking to do something that virtually no living people had ever seen them do is natural to spike the ratings. As proof, the 2016 World Series drew the highest ratings since the Boston Red Sox similar triumph in 2004.
But none of Boston’s subsequent World Series wins have drawn the same interest. With the Cubs winning the World Series, their postseason ratings will likely cool.
Fortunately, just about everything else is sustainable.
Local television contracts are massive. There’s nothing to suggest that will change any time soon. That will help keep sponsorship money up, as will baseball’s continued embracing of the digital age.
Major League Baseball certainly needs to find a way to appeal to a younger audience. But based on the money its making, it’s got plenty of time to figure out just how to do that.