While the NFL is king when it comes to TV ratings and general sports interest and the NBA might have the most global appeal with superstars like LeBron James and Steph Curry, Major League Baseball has proved that it has cornered the market on getting people to watch games on their phones.
As Forbes writes, 8.4 billion minutes were streamed to the official MLB app, At Bat, during the 2015 season. That’s more than the other American pro sports leagues combined. In fact, 53 percent of the minutes consumed by fans of all this country’s pro leagues were in At Bat.
On some level, this makes sense. Baseball is steeped in the radio broadcast tradition, and the app’s mobility allows fans who want to listen to (or watch) a game wherever they want is in the same vein of their grandparents sitting on the porch and listening to the broadcasters describe what was happening on the field. In this instance, streaming perhaps is the newest version of radio.
But the fact that MLB dominates so much in this category is interesting. And it’s not just in this country, where it’s been the top-grossing sports app for the past seven years. But in 96 other nations, At Bat also resides in the No. 1 spot.
From March to November, basically the entirety of the baseball season, At Bat was the most consumed U.S. sport league app by minutes in seven of those 10 months, according to comScore. It also beat ESPN in total minutes consumed from April-September of 2015—At Bat accumulated 6.9 billion minutes compared to ESPN’s 6.1 billion—and more than doubled Bleacher Report’s Team Stream (3.4 billion) during that time frame.
More from Forbes on why this is important:
But if 8.4 billion minutes of streamed content seems like a staggering number, consider that it’s not out of the possibility for At Bat to hit 10 billion minutes in 2016. The reason is iOS 9 iPads support will now split-screen functionality with At Bat. So, minutes of multiple games will be consumed.
All this ties into ad dollars, on top of subscription fees, and the ability to do other purchases such tickets through At Bat.
So, even though baseball is no longer America’s pastime—and hasn’t been for a few decades—it’s also become the most important app in America’s newest pastime: looking at our phones.
Photo via Keith Allison/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)