As the nation begins to reopen after months of shutdown, both the NBA and NHL have made definitive plans to resume their respective seasons. However, baseball fans are still holding their breath as the MLB seems to be struggling to get things going. There are several causes of this.  On one hand players want prorated salaries based on the amount of games they play while owners would like their salaries adjusted based on the loss of fan revenue.

Then there’s the schedule – there need to be enough regular season games to legitimize the playoffs and World Series. The NBA and NHL were all well into their respective seasons, with their respective playoffs pictures already shaping up. But the MLB was just getting done with Spring Training. Even if the MLB could pack enough games in the schedule, it has to worry about cold weather in the winter ruining things, whereas the NBA and NHL are all indoor.

This all got us to thinking, how do fans view the uncertainty surrounding the MLB return? And how will it affect television viewing habits? To get a better idea, we partnered with research firm, Mindnet Analytics to survey MLB fans. Here’s what we found.

 

The Findings

24% of Baseball Fans Could Cancel Their Cable Subscriptions if the MLB Season is Canceled

# If the MLB season ends up being cancelled, how likely are you to cancel your cable service? Percentage
1 Very likely 7.2%
2 Somewhat likely 16.6%
3 Unlikely 76.2%
Total 555

22% of Baseball Fans Will Be Less Inclined to Watch Next Season if This Season Is Cancelled

# If the 2020 MLB season is cancelled, will you be watching in 2021? Percentage
1 Yes, I’ll watch the same amount 78.0%
2 Yes, but I’ll watch less 19.6%
3 No, not at all 2.4%
Total 751

50% of Fans Won’t Blame the MLB if It Cancels the Season

# If the season is cancelled, who would you blame most? Percentage
1 Owners 17.3%
2 Players 10.3%
3 Commissioner 4.5%
4 All of the above 18.4%
5 It’s outside of anyone’s hands 49.5%
Total 751

53% of Fans Would Pay at Least $5 to Stream Each Game They Really Wanted to See if Fans Aren’t Allowed to Attend

# Assuming fans won’t be allowed to attend games, what’s the most you’d pay to stream the games you really want to see (no blackouts, no cable required)? Percentage
1 $5 per game I wanted to see 33.4%
2 $10 per game I wanted to see 11.6%
3 $15 per game I wanted to see 5.2%
4 $20 per game I wanted to see 2.4%
5 I wouldn’t pay for it 47.4%
Total 751

39% of Fans May Watch Less Baseball if the MLB Increases Ads to Make up for Lost Revenue

# If saving the MLB season required more ads during broadcasts to make up lost revenue, how would you react? Percentage
1 I’d be okay with that 60.9%
2 I’ll probably watch less than I would otherwise 33.0%
3 I wouldn’t watch if there were more ads 6.1%
Total 751

Methodology

For this survey, we partnered with Mindnet Analytics to survey 751 Major League Baseball fans, 555 of which are current pay-TV subscribers, via Amazon Mechanical Turk. Our goal was to understand how the possible cancellation of this MLB season would affect baseball fans.

We asked a range of questions focusing on how fans would react to various scenarios for the potential return or cancellation of the 2020 MLB season. More information:

Participant source: Amazon Mechanical Turk, only MLB fans. Sample size = 751.

Sample details: Only US participants. Only mturk participants with a 95% or higher approval rating were permitted to take the survey. Participants were compensated at a rate at least equivalent to $15/hour.

Confidence Level: 95%; 3.5% margin of error

William Parker

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