In February I spoke about the rise instant gratification sport in light of the development of Fast4 Tennis. The shorter sport models seem to appeal to fans who require a greater degree of certainty regarding when an outcome of a contest will be known (more so children?) and really doesn't require a sports fan to put up with delaying their gratification for a result. How individuals evaluate sooner (smaller) rewards and larger (later) rewards is key to studying intertemporal choice or choice over time in Economics.
At the end of the entry I thought about the development of ‘speed baseball’. Last week I came across an article online (available here) that informed me that Major League Baseball is set to experiment rule modifications in an independent league for the 2015 season. The new rules are not specifically targeted toward shortening games, instead they are aimed at reducing down time. The commercial breaks are coming on the clock and an experiment will be conducted with three-ball walks and two-strike foul outs. For me, a roundabout way of reducing game length. The BBC recently cited the falling participation numbers in Tennis as a key reason in developing the new rules for Fast4 Tennis. It seems that baseball is now also turning to the clock to try and improve the sport.
Can you still call this baseball? Maybe not. Is putting sport on the clock the only solution to alleged popularity crises? Maybe not either.