Publication: Journal of Sports Economics
Publication Date: 2005
Link to Article
Minor league baseball flourished in the aftermath of World War II. However, a new technology, television, threatened to broadcast major league games across America. The minor leagues contracted by over a third between 1949 and 1953. Was television the culprit as baseball historians suggest? The diffusion of television does not perfectly match the contraction of the minor leagues. Statistical analysis of television’s effects on minor league teams’ survivability and on surviving teams’ attendance provides mixed support for the historians’ thesis. Instead, the minor leagues over expanded into small towns incapable of sustaining professional baseball when the boom ended.