By Barry Janoff
July 15, 2013: Bad news for Major League Baseball: Only 34% of people say they follow the sport, down from 41% in 2009 and the lowest such figure since 2004.
Baseball also is skewing older: The largest group of fans who follow baseball (39%) are Baby Boomers ages 48-66. Another 29% are considered Matures (ages 67-plus).
The numbers come from a just-release survey from The Harris Poll conduced by Harris Interactive.
The survey coincides with the 2013 MLB All-Star Game, which is being held in Citi Field, home of the New York Mets.
However, it is the crosstown rival New York Yankees that take the honor of being the favorite team in baseball.
The Yankees top the list for the tenth consecutive time, followed this year by (in order) the Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers and Texas Rangers, according to The Harris Poll.
The Mets come in at No. 8, down from No. 5 last year and the team's lowest spot since coming in at No. 11 in 2009, according to Harris.
Good news for MLB at All-Star time: 70% of those surveyed know that the league that wins the All-Star Game gets home field advantage in the World Series. That rule was enacted in 2003.
Since then the American League has won seven of ten All-Star Games, although the National League has won the last three. In that time, the National League has won six of 10 World Series, including the last three and three of the seven years that the American League had the home field advantage.
The Yankees were picked second among teams most likely to win the World Series, behind the St. Louis Cardinals. Concurrently, the Yankees are also the team that people least want to see in the World Series, being named by 42% of those surveyed.
Other teams picked as most likely to win the 2013 World Series behind the Cardinals and Yankees were (in order): Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Braves, Rangers, San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox, Oakland A's and Washington Nationals.
The MLB's top ten favorite teams also include the Detroit Tigers (No. 6), Chicago Cubs (No. 7), Philadelphia Phillies (No. 9) and St. Louis Cardinals (No. 10).
And the least favorite teams: The Arizona Diamondbacks, Washington Nationals, Oakland A's, Houston Astros and Miami Marlins. The Toronto Blue Jays actually came in last, but the poll did not include any fans from Canada.
Asf ar as demographics: The split among baseball fans is 44%-36% male-female; 35% are white, 35% Hispanic, 24% African America. Of interest to MLB marketing parnters: 46% earn $100,000 or more annually.
This Harris Poll was conducted online within the U.S. from June 12-17, 2013 among 2,210 adults (aged 18 and over), of whom 760 said they follow MLB.