Granillo: The cost of baseball’s broadcast rights in 1961

From SABR member Larry Granillo at Baseball Nation on August 29, 2013:

Things looked very different when the 1961 Major League Baseball season rolled around. John F. Kennedy was in the White House and MLB was finally responding significantly to the Dodgers and Giants heading out west three years earlier. At the start of the 1961 season, MLB expanded for the first time since the founding of the American League, with the Los Angeles Angels and the “new” Washington Senators squeezing into the league, and the (old) Senators moving to Minnesota. The next year would be the National League’s turn, with the Houston Colt .45s and New York Mets making their way to the big leagues.

America had enjoyed a surge in prosperity throughout the 1950s that was felt almost everywhere. The nation was ready to expand its horizons, with Alan Shepard and the Mercury Seven astronauts only months away from reaching space, so naturally Major League Baseball was trying to follow suit. This meant good things for Los Angeles, the Twin Cities, and the rest of baseball’s new markets, where the new taste of Major League Baseball was driving interest off the charts. In the preëxisting markets, however, baseball was only treading water.

In this March 1961 issue of Sponsor magazine, “the national weekly of TV and radio advertising” sought to explain to advertisers why fans weren’t watching the national pastime as much as they had in the past

Read the full article here:

Originally published: August 29, 2013. Last Updated: August 29, 2013.