College Baseball Hoping for More Rain Delays to Boost TV Ratings
OMAHA — The 2015 NCAA Baseball Tournament is underway and with it, the sport’s rare chance to get some national media attention. But as college baseball officials are quickly figuring out, the less baseball the better.
“I wouldn’t say that college baseball isn’t popular, per se,” said NCAA president Mark Emmert. “But if you’re measuring popularity on traditional metrics like if lots of people like something, then sure — it’s not traditionally popular. That said, we have seen a lot of buzz around our rain delays.”
So popular are rain delays in college baseball that the sport’s administrators are hoping huge storms will plague the remainder of the tournament.
“We’ve got tarp slides, players putting on plays, guys singing, dancing,” said an ESPN executive. “Hell, rain is about the only reason to watch college baseball. A hurricane would be huge for ratings.”
The NCAA has even offered a $3 million research grant to a university to develop micro clouds that can drop heavy rain over a baseball field-sized area.
“If every college baseball game could get delayed due to rain, I think it could become one of the most entertaining sports in America,” said Emmert. “Nine innings of uninterrupted college baseball without any precipitation? No, thanks. Sounds awful.”
The College World Series is scheduled to run this year from June 13–25 in Omaha, but most hope it will run into at least mid-July due to significant rain.
“Ideally, the rain will cancel the whole thing and we’ll just get to televise a few nights of college baseball players rolling around in mud,” said the ESPN executive.