The Great British and Irish Baseball Fan Survey Results – Part 3

Part 1 and Part 2 of the survey can be found here.

It’s time for part 3 of 4 (I’ve finally decided how many parts it will be), this time we will learn about participation levels for the game and what level people play at. This will only be a short part, before the big results on our final post.

First question was “Do you play baseball and/or softball?”:

I could be wrong, but this has to be quite disappointing for the softball and baseball federations of the UK and Ireland. Over half of those surveyed do not participate in baseball or softball, considering 71.6% of those surveyed are below 45 years-old, there seems to be a large collection of folk who enjoy baseball, are passionate about it, but just don’t play it.

For this survey, the highest percentage of baseball and softball players fall in the 26-35 age range. On the flip side, the very same age range is just 2% off being the highest in those that participate in neither. This seems to me that there is an untapped bunch that just aren’t participating but could. Don’t look at the <18 and 18-25 categories yet (you just did didn’t you?), I’ll come to them later.

Now lets look at the different levels of competition.

A note on the data, if a team from the Northern Conference classes itself as Double-A, then it counts the same as British Baseball Federation Double-A. I don’t know if there is a standard difference, but for the sake of getting the data out quickly, accept that they are the same.

Class Double-A dominates, which isn’t surprising considering how many teams there are spread across all the leagues that designate themselves as Double-A. National is the Scottish and Irish leagues, Recreational is essentially the South Western league. It was great to see plenty of University, International player responses and a good mix of Softball leagues and standards.

There was one result that stood out, it’s the one at the far right of the chart. College Baseball.

This was the response.

I played in the College World Series in 1990 with Lewis & Clark College.

Ok, this guy wins.

Seeing as we have the ages of responders and we have the level they play at, lets return to the age range of baseball players in the UK and Ireland for our survey.

I’m surprised by this, I really expected a bigger skew towards the left side of the chart. I thought that the youth would dominate this question, but it seems there is much more of a spread to the older age groups.

Now there are a few caveats to this data, first off it’s a survey compiled and distributed by a baseball podcast and website run by a bunch of thirty-somethings (except the Ben “The Boy” Carter). Yes the survey was retweeted and spread throughout a large community rather than just our followers and listeners, but i’m still not sure it really hit the “youth”. Secondly — and I’m about to be completely ageist right now — I don’t know many sub-18-year-olds who would be interested in filling out a survey about baseball in the UK and Ireland. So even if it did reach them, I’d be surprised if they would complete it.

If neither of those caveats are true (which I do not think is the case), there is a stark problem with this chart:

Kids aren’t playing baseball.

If we want to try and build GB Baseball and be a competitive the a European stage (and many years down the line a world stage), we have get this chart redistributed way over to the left.

Let me just reiterate though, I don’t think thats the case right now, it’s probably just our grumpy old survey crowd. So let me try that line up there again:

Kids who play baseball, aren’t filling out surveys.

Thats fair, right?

Well, we have completed this segment of the survey. Keep an eye on the twitter feed, facebook page and remember you can subscribe on the front page of the website to make sure you don’t miss any of our posts. Want to revisit the first two parts? Find them here – Part 1Part 2

Part 4 of the survey is here

Make sure you get your copy of Baseball Prospectus 2018 hot off the press – order from Amazon by clicking this link!

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