Major League Baseball’s War on Time: An Analysis of Game Times’ Impact on Attendance Using the Theory of Leisure Constraints
Keywords:Leisure constraints, pace-of-play, MLB attendance
Acquiring an understanding of which constraint most impacts a fan’s ability to attend MLB games is essential. Sports organizations and marketing firms can potentially help consumers negotiate structural constraints through strategic planning (Trail, Robinson, & Kim, 2008). For Major League Baseball (MLB) organizations and sports marketers to form a strategic plan, they must gain knowledge of how well consumers alleviate time constraints. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine if the average game length of MLB games constrained fan’s willingness to attend MLB games. To accomplish the purpose of the study, the researchers evaluated the 1962 to 2018 seasons. Utilizing the Pearson’s correlation coefficient generated from a simple linear regression analysis, the results indicated that with every average minute of game length, the attendance increased. These results were contradictory to research previously performed in the strength and direction of the relationship (Hinch et al., 2005; Koo et al., 2017). The researchers further evaluated this timeframe by dividing the seasons by the expansion time frames. The expansions occurred in 1962 to 20 teams, 1969 to 24 teams, 1977 to 26 teams, 1993 to 28 teams, and 1998 to 30 teams. The results of the simple linear regression analyses revealed game length did not have a significant impact on attendance. Thus, it appears that aspects other than the length of an MLB game are contributing to the attendance decline.
Adler, D. (2018, February 19). MLB announces pace of play initiatives. Retrieved from https://www.mlb.com/amp/news/mlb-announces-pace-of-play-initiatives-c266718664.html.
Ahn, S. C., & Lee, Y. H. (2014). Major League Baseball attendance: Long-term analysis using factor models. Journal of Sports Economics, 15(5), 451-477.
Andrews, D. L., & Ritzer, G. (2018). Sport and prosumption. Journal of Consumer Culture, 18(2), 356-373.
Baade, R. A. (2003). Evaluating subsidies for professional sports in the United States and Europe: A public sector primer. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 19(4), 585–597.
Babbie, E. (1992). The practice of social research. New York: Macmillan.
Berg, T. (2014, September 30). Why are baseball games getting so much longer? USA Today, Retrieved from https://ftw.usatoday.com/2014/09/mlb-games-length-three-hour-pace-of-play.
Bernoulli, D. (1954). Exposition of a new theory on the measurement of risk. Econometrica, 22, 23-36.
Boo, S., Carruthers, C. P., & Busser, J.A. (2014). The constraints experienced and negotiation strategies attempted by nonparticipants of a festival event. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 31(2), 269-285.
Catanzaro, M. (1988). Using qualitative analytical techniques. In P. Woods & M. Catanzaro (Eds.), Nursing research: Theory and practice (pp. 437–456). New York: C.V. Mosby Company.
Crawford, D. W., & Godbey, G. (1987). Reconceptualizing barriers to family leisure. Leisure Sciences, 9, 119-127.
Crawford, D. W., Jackson, E. L., & Godbey, G. (1991). A hierarchical model of leisure constraints. Leisure Sciences, 13, 309-320.
Dallmeyer, S., Wicker, P., & Breuer, C. (2017). Public expenditure and sport participation: An examination of direct, spillover, and substitution effects. International Journal of Sport Finance, 12(3), 244-264.
Davis, M. A. & Miller, J. (2019a). A conceptual analysis of performance attributes’ influence on NBA attendance. Journal of Applied Sport Management, 11(2), 1-10.
Davis, M. A., & Miller, J. (2019b). A fan’s choice: An application of the theory of consumer choice to Major League Baseball. Applied Research in Coaching and Athletics Annual, 34, 146-175.
Domazlicky, B. R., & Kerr, P. M. (1990). Baseball attendance and the designated hitter. The American Economist, 34(1), 62-68.
Downe-Wamboldt, B. (1992). Content analysis: Method, applications, and issues. Health Care for Women International, 13(3), 313-321.
Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS Statistics (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Ltd.
Funk, D. C. (2008). Consumer behaviour in sport and events: Marketing action. Burlington, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Funk, D. C., Alexandris, K., & Ping, Y. (2009). To go or stay home and watch: Exploring the balance between motives and perceived constraints for major events: A case study of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. International Journal of Tourism Research, 11, 41-53.
Getz, D. (2009). Policy for sustainable and responsible festivals and events: Institutionalization of a new paradigm. Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events, 1, 61–78.
Ghimire, R., Green, G. T., Poudyal, N. C., & Cordell, H. C. (2014). An analysis of perceived constraints to outdoor recreation. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 32(4), 52-67.
Gilbert, D., & S. Hudson. (2000). Tourism demand constraints—A skiing participation. Annals of Tourism Research, 27(4), 906–925
Gitter, S. R., & Rhoads, T. A. (2010). Determinants of minor league baseball attendance. Journal of Sport Economics, 11(6), 614-628.
Godbey, G., Crawford, D. W., & Shen, X. S. (2010). Assessing hierarchical leisure constraints theory after two decades. Journal of Leisure Research, 42(1), 111-134.
Goldman, T. (2019, March 27). America’s favorite pastime is back – and some wish it would just hurry up! NPR. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/2019/03/27/707007648/americas-favorite-pastime-is-back-and-some-wish-it-would-just-hurry-up
Henderson, K. A., Bialeschki, M. D., Shaw, S. M., & Freysinger, V. J. (1989). A leisure of one's own: A feminist perspective on women's leisure. State College, PA: Venture Publishing, Inc.
Hinch, T., Jackson, E. L., Hudson, S., & Walker, G. (2005). Leisure constraint theory and sports tourism. Sport in Society, 8(2), 142-163.
Hubbard, J., & Mannell, R. C. (2001). Testing competing models of leisure constraint negotiation process in a corporate employee recreation setting. Leisure Sciences, 23, 145–163.
Hudson, S. (2000). The segmentation of potential tourists: Constraints differences between men and women. Journal of Travel Research, 38, 363–368.
Jackson, E. L. (1991). Leisure contraints/constrained leisure: Special issue introduction. Journal of Leisure Research, 23(4), 279-285.
Jackson, E. L. (2000). Will research on leisure constraints still be relevant in the twenty-first century? Journal of Leisure Research, 32(1), 62-68.
Jackson, E. L. (2005). Leisure constraints research: Overview of a developing theme in leisure studies. In E. L. Jackson (Ed.), Constraints to Leisure (pp. 3–19). State College, PA: Venture Publishing, Inc.
Jackson, E. L., Crawford, D. W., & Godbey, G. (1993). Negotiation of leisure constraints. Leisure Science, 15, 1-11.
Jackson, E. L., & Rucks, V. C. (1993). Reasons for ceasing participation and barriers to participation: Further examination of constrained leisure as an internally homogenous concept. Leisure Sciences, 15, 217—230.
Jun, J., Kyle, G., & Mowen, A. (2009). Market segmentation using perceived constraints. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 26(1), 35–55.
Kay, T., & Jackson, G. (1991). Leisure despite constraint: The impact of leisure constraints on leisure participation. Journal of Leisure Research, 23(4), 301-313.
Kim, Y. K., & Trail, G. (2010). Constraints and motivators: A new model to explain sport consumer behavior. Journal of Sport Management, 24(2), 190-210.
Krippendorff, K. (1980) Content analysis: An introduction to its methodology. Newbury Park, CA.: Sage Publications.
Koo, G. Y., Hardin, R., & Shoffner, S. (2017). Effects of the hierarchical relationships in constraints on student attendance. International Journal of Sport Management, 18(3), 401-421.
Lee, Y. H. (2018). Common factors in Major League Baseball game attendance. Journal of Sports Economics, 19(4), 583-598.
Lewis, M., & Yoon, Y. (2018). An empirical examination of the development and impact of star power in Major League Baseball. Journal of Sports Economics, 19(2), 155-187.
Loucks-Atkinson, A., & Mannell, R. C. (2007). Role of self-efficacy in the constraints negotiation process: The case of individuals with fibromyalgia syndrome. Leisure Sciences, 29, 19–36.
Baseball Reference. (2018). Major League Baseball miscellaneous year-by-year averages and totals. Retrieved from https://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/MLB/misc.shtml
Madrigal, R. (2003). Investing an evolving leisure experience: Antecedents and consequences of spectator affect during a live sporting event. Journal of Leisure Research, 35(1), 23-48.
Mannel, R., & Kleiber, D. (1997). A social psychology of leisure. State College, PA: Venture Publishing, Inc.
Mauws, M. K., Mason, D. S., & Foster, W. M. (2003). Thinking strategically about professional sports. European Sport Management Quarterly, 3(3), 145-164.
Morse, J. M. & Field P.A. (1995). Qualitative research methods for health professionals. Thousand Oaks, CA.: Sage Publications.
Nightengale, B. (2019, March 14). MLB to implement new rule changes that will shake up the look of sport. USA Today. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2019/03/14/mlb-new-rule-changes-roster-3-batter-minimum/3157226002/
Nyaupane, G. P., & Andereck, K. L. (2008). Understanding travel constraints: Application and extension of a leisure constraints model. Journal of Travel Research, 46(4), 433-439.
Park, S., Kim, J., Nam, S., & Kwon, J. (2017). Leisure constraints, leisure constraints negotiation, and recreation specialization for water-based tourism participants in Busan. Asian Social Science, 13(10), 159-167.
Pritchard, M. P., Funk, D. C., & Alexandris, K. (2009). Barriers to repeat patronage: The impact of spectator constraints. European Journal of Marketing, 43(1/2), 169-187.
Ritzer, G. & Stillman, T. (2001). The postmodern ballpark as a leisure setting: Enchantment and simulated de-McDonaldization. Leisure Sciences, 23, 99-111.
Rosa, H. (2013). Social acceleration: A new theory of modernity. New York, NY: Columbia University Press
Ruseski, J. E., & Razavilar, N. (2013). United States. In K. Hallmann, & K. Petry (Eds.), Comparative sport development: Systems, participation, and public policy. New York, NY: Springer.
Samdahl, D., & Jekubovich, N. (1997). A critique of leisure constraints: Comparative analyses and understandings. Journal of Leisure Research, 29(4), 430–453.
Scott, D. (1991). The problematic nature of participation in contract bridge - A qualitative study of group-related constraints. Leisure Sciences, 13(4), 321-336.
Sherman, J. (2016, January 26). MLB cranks up pace-of-play restrictions for year 2. New York Post. Retrieved from https://nypost.com/2016/01/26/mlb-cranks-up-pace-of-play-game-restrictions-for-year-2/
Shores, K. A., Scott, D., & Floyd, M. F. (2007). Constraints to outdoor recreation: A multiple hierarchy stratification perspective. Leisure Sciences, 29, 227-246.
Son, J., Mowen, A., & Kerstetter, D. (2008). Testing alternative leisure constraint negotiation models: An extension of Hubbard and Mannell’s study. Leisure Sciences, 30, 198–216.
Statista. (2018a). Major League Baseball total revenue from 2001 to 2017 (in billion U.S. dollars)*. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/study/10287/major-league-baseball-statista-dossier/
Statista. (2018b). Ticket sales as a share of Major League Baseball revenue from 2009 to 2017*. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/study/10287/major-league-baseball-statista-dossier/
Stebbins, R. A. (2005). Choice and experiential definitions of leisure. Leisure Sciences, 27, 349-352.
Tifferet, S., & Herstein, R. (2012). Gender differences in brand commitment, impulse buying, and hedonic consumption. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 21, 176-182.
Trail, G. T., Robinson, M. J., & Kim, Y. K. (2008). Sport consumer behavior: A test for group differences on structural constraints. Sport Marketing Quarterly, 17(4), 190-200.
Weber, R.P. (1990). Basic content analysis. Newbury Park, CA.: Sage Publications.
Westerbeek, H. M., & Shilbury, D. (2003). A conceptual model for sport services marketing research: integrating quality, value, and satisfaction. International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, 5(1), 3-23.
White, D. (2008). A structural model of leisure constraints negotiation in outdoor recreation. Leisure Sciences, 30(4), 342-359.
Winfree, J. (2009). Fan substitution and market definition in professional sports leagues. The Antitrust Bulletin, 54(4), 801-822.