Attention spans are not decreasing. We’re just too skippable.

By Jim Kukral, {grow} Community Member
Major League Baseball has a big problem. It’s too skippable.
The games are too long, both on television and in the ballparks. There isn’t enough action and too much downtime between pitches to keep a fan’s attention.
This is why you see ballparks putting more social aspects like bars and restaurants into the stadiums, along with free Wi-Fi, and cheaper tickets. Because people are bored and distracted. If you go to a game nowadays you’ll notice something. People aren’t watching the game, they’re just looking at their phones.
This isn’t a problem with other professional sports leagues. Consumers don’t care that NFL games are over three hours. NBA fans aren’t bothered that the final two minutes of a game take forever to finish. But in baseball? It’s skippable, because it’s a slow moving game and can be boring.
In 2018, attendance was down nearly 10 percent from 2017, making it the sixth season in a row of declining attendance. Major League Baseball is frantically considering rule changes, pitch clocks and fan-friendly scheduling to appeal to the distracted consumer.
But speeding up the game is only a bandaid to the real issue, which is that the consumer has changed.

No boredom. Ever.

Say what you want about millennials, but they are not cheap. Millennials gladly shell out $12 for a fancy craft beer and drop $13 on fish tacos at the ballpark or otherwise.
But they are not willing to be bored. Ever.
Yeah, I know this isn’t everyone who watches baseball. And yes, I know, there are still plenty of people who enjoy baseball in its current form. But let’s be honest, the writing is on the wall for the future, and that is being driven by the future baseball consumer.
Baseball must learn how to become Unskippable. And so do you.
I’m pretty sure I’m preaching to the choir here, but it needs to be said. We’re living in a mobile world, which is a determining factor for our lack of attention and why we try to skip so much.

The data is in

A 2015 Bank of America report found that 71 percent of people sleep with or near their phones, and that includes the 13 percent who said they slept with their phones in their beds. Heck, I know people who take their phones into the shower with them, and in the pool when they’re doing laps. The irony of it all is that we don’t even use our phones for calls anymore.
U.S. phones were inundated with 26.3 billion robo-calls last year, a 46 percent increase from the 18 billion spam calls placed in 2017. Whoa! But why? The tech to make such calls has become easy (and cheap) to access, so more robocallers are jumping into the fray.
The consequence of it all? Junk calls are driving people to avoid (skip) answering the phone altogether, with 52 percent of cell phone calls going unanswered, reports MarketWatch.
When was the last time you answered your phone from a number you don’t recognize? These little contraptions hooked to our belts or in our purses aren’t “telephones”, they’re little computers that suck our souls out while we’re staring at them.

Lost in our devices

Okay, that was a bit dramatic. The point is we have lost ourselves with these devices and they are a major contributor to our distractions, and of course one of the biggest reasons we can’t seem to focus on pretty much anything for too long.
To summarize: We have phones we don’t really use as phones, and we also have social media, which distracts us even more.
The funny part is we use our phones to access social media. Yet, in a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll a whopping 82 percent believe social media is a big waste of our time. But still, 69 percent of all Americans still use social media once a day or more, mostly on their phones.
It’s a vicious skippable circle. But it’s also the reality, and the future we all have to deal with.
Michael Lastoria, founder of the &Pizza franchise that is taking the pizza world by storm, got nearly $60 million in funding to model a new kind of restaurant. One of the driving principles of &Pizza’s success (besides the “dough bots” that automate the tedious and most dangerous part of making pizza) is a completely text-to-order platform.
Lastoria stated in an article, “You can’t call an &Pizza. You can’t email us. We won’t respond.” He continued, “That [text] is the way that most people communicate.”
And he’s right.
Your customer has changed. Yes, they are more distracted, and yes it may appear that they have an attention problem, but they don’t. They are simply really good at figuring out what to pay attention to!

The following is an excerpt from Jim Kukral’s book Your Journey To Becoming Unskippable (in your business, life & career). Mark Schaefer and his book Marketing Rebellion are featured and referenced in the book in multiple sections. You can read more from Jim at

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