October 7, 2020
MLB has been able to increase revenue during the economic downturn of the COVID-19 pandemic. The league’s creative approach to a shortened season has provided a good investment return. The league created a 60-game season in response to the delay. Now the playoff season has been expanded to 16 teams in eight best-of-three series to compete for the World Series.
The league plans to follow this type of format for future seasons in 2021 and beyond. In previous years, the playoffs have followed a 10-team format. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has come under fire for his handling of the MLB season amidst the pandemic’s condensing of the season.
Some new aspects of this postseason are a televised show where teams choose their opponents and reduce the number of games. A year ago, the MLB Network began a mock selection show for MLB executives which mimicked the NCAA tournament bracket elements. These changes are projected to not only gain new revenue but also attract a younger fan base.
Are these changes accepted by fans who are baseball purists? Is Manfred’s goal of attracting a younger audience turning the older generation away from the sport? Television revenue says otherwise. This new construction of baseball’s postseason has brought attention to baseball that it hasn’t seen in recent years.
This season has yielded the MLB league close to $1 billion in television revenue. The 10-team postseason was projected only to bring in a gain of $780 million in television revenue.
“I like the idea of more playoffs,” Manfred said. “I like the idea of a three-game series at the beginning. Whether it’s 12 or 14, whatever the number turns out to be, that’s TBD.” Manfred stays loyal to hosting the MLB postseason in October.
Last week, MLB and Turner Sports finalized a seven-year media rights deal. They agreed to Turner Sports paying close to $535 million per year through 2028. Hopefully, this deal will create a balance between regular season and postseason revenue. The MLB’s goal is to attract a younger audience and maintain the postseason. Maybe in the future, the reduction in the number of postseason games will draw in more revenue and popularity during the regular season.