In a stunning move, the Baltimore Orioles are allowing kids 9 and under free admission to their home games this season.
They're doing it in an effort to attract younger fans to the game of baseball.
How it works
It's simple. For every regularly-priced upper deck ticket purchased, adults can get up to two additional tickets valid for kids aged 9 and under.
Are other teams following?
Not yet, although we're just hours removed from Baltimore's announcement.
A source from the Twins told GoMN that they are not aware of any conversations that would bring a similar "Kids Cheer Free" initiative to Minnesota.
However, Twins Senior Director of Community Relations told GoMN that they gave away 175,000 tickets last season, most of them going to youth and military service members – and they plan to do that again this season.
But for the sake of baseball's future, it might not be a bad idea to at least consider allowing more kids in free as a standard, especially since Target Field hasn't been a place of sellouts in recent years.
Last season, the Twins ranked 21st in average home attendance, with 25,640 fans on average at Target Field. With a capacity of just under 40,000, it leaves about 14,000 seats vacant, which is more pronounced during weekday games.
And it's no secret that MLB is having a hard time finding younger viewers. According to a MarketWatch story last year, baseball's average viewer is 53 years old, much higher than the average age of fans of the NFL (47) and NBA (37).
A Wall Street Journal story from 2015, titled "Why Children Are Abandoning Baseball," showed that the number of kids age 7-17 playing baseball dropped 41 percent from 2002-13.
In an effort to help stave off sagging TV ratings, MLB has agreed to allow Facebook to exclusively stream 25 weekday afternoon games this season, most of which will be on Wednesdays. More on that story at Bloomberg.