Baseball may be America’s national pastime, but how many younger fans are interested in the game?

With TikTok taking the world by storm and kids’ faces stuck in their phones, Major League Baseball is on a mission to attract its youngest fans to come out and play or watch the traditional game.

As a part of their outreach efforts, MLB holds the annual Little League Classic. The game, which saw the Phillies take on the Nationals, took place on Sunday at the historic Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, just six miles from where the Little League World Series is underway. It allowed kids to enjoy the match — and even interact with some of the league’s biggest stars — in an effort to get more children involved in the sport.


In an attempt to cater to modern day kids’ attention spans, MLB introduced the pitch clock last September. The pitch clock is a part of MLB’s three rule changes, which creates a quicker pace of play by implementing a 30-second timer between batters, a 15-second timer between pitches with empty bases, and a 20-second timer with runners on base. Since its inception, the average game time has decreased to 2 hours 38 minutes, which is down from 3:03 last season and 3:10 in 2021.

According to MLB, the league’s attempt to bring-in younger fans is working; more kids are watching highlight breakdowns online via social media accounts like Jomboy Media and there’s been a heavy presence on the video game “MLB: The Show.”

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told the Associated Press the median age of ticket buyers dropped from 46-years-old to 43 — a stark difference from 49-years-old in 2021. Younger fans are also watching on TV; teen viewership between ages 12 and 17 is up 11% from last year, and MLB noted that 86% of people between the ages of 18 and 34 said they would be more likely to watch baseball following the rule changes.

This year, attendance is up to an average of 29,277, with attendance 4.38 million higher than 2022,  MLB said.

“We’ve talked a lot about younger audiences and how significant they are for the future of the game,” Manfred said.

In terms of engagement, MLB found it has to zero-in on how the younger age group consumes the sport — whether that be in-person, on TV, through streaming channels online, or via social media and apps.


“It’s all part of an integrated strategy here at baseball,” MLB’s Chief Operations and Strategy Officer Chris Marina said, “of meeting fans where they are, delivering content to them so they feel welcome and included, using digital tools to understand who they are — and growing the product on the field. We want to be welcoming and inclusive. There are lots of ways to watch the games — and there are lots of ways to be a fan.”

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Last Updated on August 21, 2023