In my previous post I applauded Matthew Futterman’s suggestion that two key changes to baseball’s rules will produce a shorter, faster-paced game, one that will attract younger viewers. While I may not be that young, I’m certainly on-board with speeding up the game. I believe that faster-paced play will lead to greater engagement, and greater engagement will lead to greater enjoyment.
In some sense this is similar to our position on marketing research methods. We want to engage our respondents because the more focused on the task they become, the more considered their responses will be. One of our newer tools, Bracket,TM allows respondents to prioritize a long list of items in a tournament-style approach. Bracket™has respondents make choices among items, and as the tournament progresses the choices become more relevant (and hopefully more enjoyable).
Meanwhile, back to baseball. The rule changes Futterman suggests are very simple ones:
Once batters step into the box, they shouldn't be allowed to step out. Otherwise it's a strike.
If no one is on the base, pitchers get seven seconds to throw the next pitch. Otherwise it's a ball.
Being smart researchers, we decided to ask our online consumer panel (US adults 18+) whether professional baseball should make these changes. Results are divided:
So you're probably wondering, hey, do the people answering this question actually follow professional baseball? Well, it turns out that those who watch professional baseball on TV are more opinionated, as we would expect:
And what about those who really love baseball - it's their favorite sport to watch? They're more anti-change:
But I suppose the real question is whether younger viewers would approve. It turns out that we didn’t get a whole lot of panelists under age 35 who say that baseball is their favorite sport to watch (I suppose this could be used to support Futterman’s argument). Regardless, their opinions don’t differ from the opinions of the older enthusiasts anyway.
So how do we interpret what we’ve learned? I’m a glass-half full kind of gal, so I believe that if 1/3 of baseball enthusiasts are open to a major rule change, MLB should consider it. But I have a feeling that addressing that concern and making a ruling would drag on….and on…and on…..
In the meantime, I’ve turned off televised baseball, and am tuning into golf instead. And I’m looking for fresh ways to keep survey respondents tuned in to the market research survey experience.
VP / Research Management
Michele likes to hijack TRC's online consumer panel to get relevant answers to her burning research questions. She loves asking questions relating to her favorite hobbies - TV and movies, golf, casino gambling and travel - and more often than not the answers can be generalized across industries.