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Paradigm Shifts

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Paradigm Shifts

by Patrick Newman (Apr 12, 2009)

Open question to readers: is there a paradigm shift coming in baseball? In sports in general?

Context: in the last ten years, we've seen the emergence of the web lead to paradigm shifts in a number of different businesses. Retail was among the first affected, with the rise of e-commerce and websites like and eBay. Then we saw the music industry try and ultimately fail to shut down online music sharing, and the rise of iTunes, the return of the single and the demise of CD sales. Now the news media industry is going through an identity crisis, with publications going under and the industry at large trying to figure out how to transition from paper to digital mediums while remaining profitable.

In the three examples I listed above, the web changed the basic way customers purchase and consume the products. That doesn't seem entirely possible in sports - you'll still have live events and TV and radio. Also, in each of the three examples there was an external, disruptive force involved. The sports business is somewhat isolated from that because of the monopolistic nature of the top leagues.

So where is the paradigm shift in sports? I suppose the fan experience is a little different. This blog, and others like it, provides information would otherwise be unavailable in English. Without the web, it wouldn't exist as I couldn't afford to bootstrap a print publication. But do independent blogs and other online resources change the way teams on either side of Pacific operate? Do they change the way fans consume the baseball product?

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