Why Football has Surpassed Baseball in Being “America’s favorite pastime”


Sun Sentinal

NFL Super Bowl 2020 stadium in Florida, filled to its limit as fans watch adamantly for the fifty-fourth Super Bowl champion.

Anvi Bhagavatula, Photojournalist

It’s the ninth inning of the semi-finals game of the Los Angeles Dodgers versus the St. Louis Cardinals. The score is tied and all eyes are on the shortstop Chris Taylor. Then it happens. The wildcard. The excitement in the room reaches its pinnacle as fans of both teams’ jaws drop as they realize what’s happened. This scene sounds familiar to another game, the 44th annual Super Bowl, when fans were restlessly watching at the edges of their seats, watching the Chief’s quarterback Patrick Mahomes score yet another touchdown. Even though there are similarities between the sports, football has still made it out as the most popular, with Statista saying that each football game has around 14.9 million American viewers, while, as the Denver post stated, baseball has around 9.8 million. So what happened to baseball being “America’s favorite pastime”? 

The reason America has moved on from their infatuation with baseball, specifically in the early to late 1960s to ’70s, boils down to the pace of football. Although not as frequent as basketball, football players score much more frequently than in baseball. SHS news explained last year that the NFL has an average of over 51 points per game and baseball has around 8 runs per game, and since the pace is quicker in football, more people can catch onto the quick points of the game rather than having to be entertained by the plays, batting, fielding. At YLHS, football is also a very large part of student life as opposed to baseball, which is rarely watched by the student body, majorly because of the time commitment displayed by baseball games. Baseball games usually last well over four hours with football games lasting barely three with entertaining half-time shows and cheerleading. MLB baseball also doesn’t hype up their half-time shows while hiring famous singers or dancers, which is what the NFL does, an example being at the 44th Super  Bowl show with Shakira and Jennifer Lopez.

An example of how baseball is considered less popular than football is the dissemination of the sports apart from professional leagues. College sports, for example, are not as popular when in reference to baseball. According to SHS news, in 2019, college football playoffs were viewed with an average of 27 million viewers in their playoffs, a shocking number in comparison to the ESPN Press Room calculated 755,000 viewers for the 2019 college baseball world series. One of the reasons why there are fewer people watching college baseball is that, as SHS news states, “Tickets can practically be handed away for free, excluding major tournaments like the College World Series, which hosted in Omaha, Nebraska.”According to Money, college football playoff tickets cost 2,000 dollars two years ago, which increases people’s appreciation of the game once they get there, similar to a cheap or free concert to an expensive festival or well-known world tour concert. YLHS football player Ethan Navarro (10) added to this, saying that “the environment at football games is much more lively.” YLHS baseball player Aidan Alvarez agreed, saying, “it’s a lot easier to be excited at football games since the game is so fast-paced.” 

Football, created in 1920, and baseball, created in 1870, have been around for well over a hundred years, both gaining millions of dollars in revenue and followers. although football and baseball are not equal in popularity, they are both entertaining sports to watch and are continuing to be watched avidly by almost everyone in the United States.