Extra Innings add a battle of attrition
Eli Manning didn’t become a household name because he was Peyton Manning’s brother. No, it was because in November of 2001 he led Ole Miss to a win over Arkansas after seven overtime periods. Eli was a household name after that game and became a legend on campus. Why? Because despite being exhausted and at the end of his rope he still found a way to win. Fans love watching athletes do the unimaginable. They love watching a man make folklore with a swing of a ball, a toss of a ball, or a single tackle.
Hitting a single can now end a game. Why? There’s no honor in that. There’s nothing star-making in that. There’s nothing even exciting about that. You can’t reduplicate Bill Selby’s walk-off grand slam in 2002. You can’t earn that beautiful moment from 2014 when the Indians won on a walk-off balk in the 13th inning. Putting a runner in scoring position negates so much opportunity to make moments and capture new fans by making every ending a cookie-cutter finale.
Sports are supposed to be exciting. Complaining about more sports only shows someone that you’re not a fan of the sport. So why would making it quicker make more fans want to tune in? Sure, there might be some fans who only want to see the results or other fans who get bored watching anything after an hour. Those fans aren’t going to the games though. Fans who watch most of the game, or never change the channel until it’s over, are the ones more likely to show up and pay for tickets. They’re the ones who want to see legends born. Not just take Instagram selfies for the first three innings before heading to a bar downtown.
You should be catering to the fans who love the game. Not the ones who won’t even pay to see your product. So stop catering the game to the type of people who have no interest in your sport.
It’s like catering to vegans when you run a steakhouse. Why?