Wednesday, April 1, 2020

A More Equitable World

I was reading yesterday that the fallout from the Coronavirus outbreak down the road might lead to unemployment rates that we haven't seen in the United States since the Great Depression from the last century.  You wonder when Major League Baseball finally opens the parks for business as usual how people who are unemployed or underemployed are going to be able to afford those pricey seats.  I would assume that clubs would start lowering prices at least for the nosebleed sections.

There's a great divide in this country between the wealthy and the rest of us, but for all of that you couldn't imagine a scenario a month or two ago where attending a big league game could be out of reach for a lot of middle class folks.  If we have unemployment of 20 percent or even higher that could easily happen.

Back not all that many years ago you could still watch a significant portion of your team's games for free, but now in most places you have to subscribe to fairly expensive cable TV packages to watch games.  Even then you keep your fingers crossed that your regional Regional Sports Networks don't price themselves off your cable systems.  How's that working out for you, Dodger fans?

I ditched cable for YouTube TV a while back and am able to watch Mets games, whenever they do return, for a much more reasonable price than Comcast was charging.  Worth it, even if it did entail giving up a chunk of cable channels that I hardly watched.

Up until recently Yankees fans were able to enjoy the same lower cost because YES was also on YouTube TV, but they just priced themselves off that outlet.  You need to have cable, Hulu or AT&T TV Now (as expensive as cable for the latter) if you want to watch most Yankees games and you live in the area.

If our economy takes the big hit that most experts are predicting, I wonder how baseball will be forced to change in order to still be relevant.  It takes time to dig out of a large economic hole, and large swathes of our population is going to be hurting.  Baseball cannot afford to price itself out of reach of people who love the game.  It's been quite a while that the cost of going to games and watching them on TV has gone nowhere but up, and I don't see how that can continue.  I'm sure that some day things will be booming again, but that day seems years off from where we are right now.

I don't mean anything I write here as a political statement.  I am, indeed, a political minded person, but I have absolutely no desire to bring politics into this space.  But I do think that a huge crisis like what we're going through right now forces businesses to drastically rethink what they need to do to continue to survive during and in the aftermath of that crisis.

Baseball is a business, and so are those huge money RSNs, and they're going to have to make some fairly large adjustments going forward.  If they want to keep their fans they're going to have to meet them halfway.  The days of shaking every last nickel out of our pockets is over for now in our suddenly overturned world.

In a larger sense, I believe the fallout from the crisis we have only begun to endure is going to cause us to rethink a lot of what we believe and what we accept as the rules we all live under.  I believe the world on the other side of this nightmare will feature some drastic changes that have been long overdue.  My one fervent hope for all of us, no matter where we live, what we believe and what we're willing to fight for, is that we're all still here to see that world.  God bless you all.

I'm not sure if anyone who read the old blog will find their way here after all these many years, but if you do please drop me an email or comment if you'd prefer. I'd honestly love to hear from you. Also, I will be posting here regularly if you're inclined to come back..

 Follow me on Twitter @MikeSteffanos

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