Globalization of Baseball: It’s All About The Money

In chapter two of Stealing Lives: The Globalization of Baseball and the Tragic Story of Alexis Quiroz, Guevara and Fidler discuss how in order to understand the globalization of baseball, one must consider Major League Baseball as a business. Major League Baseball takes part in multiple strategies in order to increase revenue by creating new consumer markets. These strategies include playing more games in foreign countries, internationally broadcasting major league games, and globally selling MLB-licensed merchandise. Because of the global strategies that are taking place in order to grow the game of baseball, the term “national pastime” can no longer be associated with baseball in the United States.

Guevara and Fidler focus a great deal on international players in Major League Baseball and how they can potentially increase revenue for MLB. “Major League Baseball harnesses in its global strategies the synergy developing between the presence of foreign baseball players in the major leagues and foreign baseball consumer” (Guevara & Fidler). Players in Japan are heavily scouted and brought back to the United States to play baseball in the MLB. The fans in Japan are going to want to see their people play baseball, so MLB sells broadcasting rights to Japan. This is a very lucrative deal for them and is one of the many strategies the MLB takes place in in order to create revenue. Reading about this made me think about the disembedding mechanisms that Giddens talks about in The Consequences of Modernity. Giddens defines disembedding as “the lifting out of social relations form local contexts of interaction and their restructuring across indefinite spans of time-space” (21). MLB selling broadcasting rights to Japan can be seen as a disembedding mechanism. Fans in Japan can be in their living room watching a baseball game being played in the United States. Major League Baseball’s strategies in globalizing the sport of baseball in order to make money are actually increasing the ‘time-space distanciation’ as mentioned by Giddens.

3 thoughts on “Globalization of Baseball: It’s All About The Money

  1. Sport only exists globally so well because of market, baseball at best is a niche sport with some reach to some countries in Asia and Latin America beyond the US and Canada. The notion “he fans in Japan are going to want to see their people play baseball, so MLB sells broadcasting rights to Japan.” , is more than a dimension of a business decision, it helps ensure the survival of baseball and its further spread. The MLB wants to spread viewership which is why they recruit international players from other baseball playing nations. Is this a sign of baseball’s reach or is it just a marketing ploy?

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  2. “Players in Japan are heavily scouted and brought back to the United States to play baseball in the MLB. The fans in Japan are going to want to see their people play baseball, so MLB sells broadcasting rights to Japan.” MLB seems to be having a bunch international players now a days. The MLB could try to go globally just like soccer did but it seems it will take some time if it ever happens. By giving rights to broadcast overseas and play games oversea will get other countries interested in the game and could possibly start a league overseas somewhere. What needs to happen to make baseball be able to become global like soccer did?

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  3. The globalization of baseball is a very interesting topic. Baseball very popular in America and other countries like Asia, Latin America and Canada. This is true because a majority of the players in the MLB come from these countries. The globalization of baseball is dependent on diversity. Its simple, fans in any country are going to want to see their people play baseball. For example, “Players in Japan are heavily scouted and brought back to the United States to play baseball in the MLB. The fans in Japan are going to want to see their people play baseball, so MLB sells broadcasting rights to Japan.” For baseball to become as globalized as a sport like soccer the MLB needs to start recruiting players of all different nationalities.

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