One of the measures of the health of a sport is youth participation. As times change and there is more competition for kids’ time, how can you keep them invested in a sport like baseball, which has complex rules and proficiencies? Major League Baseball (MLB) is taking a close look at baseball in America, particularly among young people. Recent measurements show that the number of 6-18 year-olds playing baseball dropped 7% from 2008-2012, and MLB attendance rates overall are down 8% from 2008. While attendance rates have plateaued for several years, they have never fully recovered to the attendance rates of 2007 and 2008.
To combat these declines, MLB looked to their Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program, a sports based youth development program designed to get more young people in urban areas involved with baseball. They wanted to know how they could keep baseball exciting for kids today, while at the same time keeping true to the values that make baseball so special.