Course Project - Jeremy Pflug

Course Project - Jeremy Pflug - Jeremy Pflug MM 570 Course...

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Jeremy Pflug MM 570 – Course Project Dr. Szostek Steroid Era or Economic Down Trend… What is MLB’s Attendance Problem? Baseball is “America’s Pastime” and yet there is an overwhelming decline in popularity over the past decade. Attendance figures are dropping rapidly, even in the playoffs; many seats were left without a person in them. With this I ask the question, which is hurting the attendance at Major League Baseball games more; the economy or the “Steroids Era?” Nicholas Martinez writes, “The “steroid era” has unquestionably changed MLB, and the ability its viewers have to appreciate the game they once loved so passionately. The underlying factors involved begin and end with the use of anabolic steroids in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.” The “Steroid Era” began in 1998, with Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa going homerun for homerun which set up the Major Leagues for its best TV ratings and attendance figures in the history of the sport. The issue at hand is what happened next. In a special drug report by MLB.com, they describe a Senate Commerce Committee hearing, where Senators Byron Dorgan and John McCain told Commissioner Bud Selig and MLB Players Association executive director Don Fehr that a strict drug testing program at the Major League level must be implemented. (MLB.com, 2010) In 1998, the attendance figures skyrocketed. From 1997-1998, seven million more fans attended Major League Baseball games and that figure stayed constant. With 13 players at 40+
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homeruns, the excitement of the sport was growing. The stands were filled with signs of “Chicks dig the long!” and these attendance figures proved this slogan. This all came to a halt in 2002. Five years after the McGwire vs. Sammy Sosa homerun race, the steroid allegations became a reality and with Congress involved, the Major League Baseball attendance figures plummeted. In one year, from 2001 to 2002, attendance dropped by five million. Baseball’s attendance figures recovered eventually in the middle years of the 2000’s decade. Figures reached up to 74 million fans in attendance, which was the 5 th highest in baseball history. Then in 2007, the economy took a turn for the worse. Major League Baseball’s attendance took a huge hit. For four consecutive seasons, attendance has dropped from the previous year. "Anything outside of rent, taxes, fuel, food, shelter, after that everything falls into the category of discretionary spending," said Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist of The Economic Outlook Group. "We may not see any significant rebound in consumer spending, especially discretionary, disposable spending, until 2010." (Foxnews, 2008) This brings me to the question at hand… Which has hurt Major League Baseball’s attendance worse; The Steroid Era or the Economic Downturn? I believe that the Steroids Era is really deteriorating the game of baseball in ways that are
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Course Project - Jeremy Pflug - Jeremy Pflug MM 570 Course...

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