Millions of Americans rejoice over the return of Major League Baseball on March 30, marking the inofficial beginning of spring. For the first time since 1968, all 30 teams will be involved on Opening Day, resulting in hours upon hours of baseball action to get the ball rolling in style.
And while the return of baseball is always headline news and cause for celebration in the United States, it barely makes waves outside the sport’s motherland. While the NBA and the NFL have been making steady progress in trying to grow their overseas following, “America’s favorite pastime” remains a tough sell in large parts of the world, despite efforts to grow the game’s footprint outside of America.
Aside from some notable exceptions such as Japan, baseball remains a niche sport in most major markets outside North America, especially in Europe, where soccer (i.e. football) still reigns supreme but basketball and American football have a growing fans base as well. According to Statista Consumer Insights, 50 percent of U.S. adults follow baseball, while the share of baseball fans is significantly lower in other parts of the world, particularly in Europe.