Location: Vienna, Virginia, United States

A graduate of Dartmouth College (2005) and Washington and Lee University School of Law (2010). These are my personal blogs, and the musings expressed on them do not reflect the positions of my employer. They do reflect my readings, thoughts, and aspirations, which I figure is good enough.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I ask you this

So a thought came to me after South Africa came within three outs of beating Canada in the World Baseball Classic tonight.

This might not seem like a huge upset, but considering that Canada can put at least 6 or 7 major leaguers in the lineup at one time, and that South Africa currently does not have anyone on the team with major league experience, it's pretty impressive.

My thought was that so much of Major League Baseball's marketing and interest is focused in developing baseball in China that they're missing an obvious target nearby. It seems to me that China, with very little infrastructure, little to no present interest, and little experience in similar sports, is not the easiest place to promote baseball.

Why not India?

You have nearly as big a population to pull talent from, the majority of them already speak the English, and best of all, they have experience with cricket.

So why not try to get baseball on the map in India? It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me not to, especially when I hear about MLB's efforts in China.

The language barrier isn't a problem in India, so it's not too difficult to convey the nuances of the game. Baseball is at least somewhat similar to cricket (somewhat), so the novelty could bring people to the game, while the familiarity allows the game to be easily accessible. And if the argument for China is that there's 1.3 billion people to find talent from, well India is the next best thing with over 1 billion individuals.

Also, Major League Baseball would not have to compete with basketball in China, which is a battle which for the time being they're going to lose badly. With Yao Ming and the NBA advertisement / marketing / product line in place, basketball is the rising sport, not baseball.

It strikes me that Major League Baseball is clearly buying high on the "untapped resources" stock, and while I think it will succeed eventually given enough time and money, they already have direct competition present with the NBA. I can't help but think that India would be an easier market to penetrate.

Finally, I would definitely go to see a Bollywood remake of "The Natural." I think it would be absolutely hilarious. The rather fantastic premise of the movie lends itself well to Bollywood, and the image of spontaneous song and dance on the baseball diamond tickles me. Once you got some interest in baseball, getting into Bollywood would be an easy and lucrative way to promote the sport.


Blogger Tarik said...

While not quite the natural, the bollywood movie Lagaan is at least the bad news bears of the Cricket movies. Well worth a watch. Also good for learning cricket. The brief summary is that the Brits are killing the local economy with taxes, the locals challenge the brits to a cricket match for the taxes. One problem, locals do not know how to play cricket. Hilarity, Drama and Song and Dance ensue. Good stuff..

5:53 PM  
Blogger Satchmo said...

I agree - Lagaan is a great movie - I saw it a couple of years ago. It's extremely long though, something like 3.5 hours.

8:39 PM  

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