(By Buzz Knight) The brand known as Major League Baseball is undergoing seismic reimagination. Long criticized for being slow and outdated in a fast-paced world, MLB has “ripped the band-aid off” to inject new life at a time that the younger generation of fans is abandoning the sport for faster pace sports and multi-media engagement.
The new rules impact every facet of the game-pitching, hitting, base running and fielding.
Most notable changes are:
The Pitch Clock Rule which is designed to speed up the pace of the game, reduce the average time of the game by cutting down on the number of times pitchers and batters are allowed to stop play.
Larger Bases and base running rules. The bases are now 18 inches square(previously 15 inches)which will decrease the distance between first and second and second and third by 4.5 inches, thereby increasing chances of a stolen base.
In addition, pitchers are limited to a maximum of two pickoff attempts per plate appearance, and if a pitcher attempts a third pickoff throw and doesn’t get the runner out it’s an automatic balk and all runners move up one base.
There are more intricate changes with the game, but the point is that the powers that be took the position that having the mentality that “we can’t change things because we’ve always done it this way” wasn’t going to work anymore.
So, what can radio learn from MLB’s actions inspiring thought and actions?
Adaptability is crucial. Baseball has a long history, but the game is evolving with rule changes that most definitely will impact game play. Even though, the jury is still out for MLB, radio can learn from this and apply it to their own strategies.
After contemplating this my mind is racing with the possibilities regarding content, packaging and audience retention and growth. The ability to adapt to changing circumstances and trends is critical in today’s rapidly evolving business environment.
Embrace innovation: Baseball’s rule changes will not only impact game play but most importantly will improve the overall experience for fans.
Radio can learn from this and embrace innovation to create new and exciting experiences for their audience and customers.
Listen to your audience: Baseball’s rule changes have been driven by feedback from fans and players. Radio must learn from this and listen to their audience, clients and employees to better understand needs and preferences.
Be transparent: Baseball’s rule changes have been accompanied by clear explanations and justifications. Radio needs to be bold and be equally transparent about their decisions and actions. This includes with their employees, audiences, customers, and shareholders.
Take risks: Baseball’s rule changes have sometimes been controversial, but it appears they will lead to positive outcomes. The early spring training data on length of game already supports this notion. Radio can learn from this and take calculated risks to achieve their goals, even if they are not popular at first.
Buzz Knight can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]
All well and good except radio is innovation-less, tone deaf, opaque at best, and averse to risk. The business model is such that it relies on a fixed amount of revenue rather than venturing to expand revenue and brand recognition, resulting in mediocre, (being generous), programming and talent. I could go on but as you’ve got even more time in the industry as I did, you know full well how the game is played.