Kids Aren't Playing Baseball, So Is That Bad News for Nike and Under Armour?

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- On the surface, baseball looks healthy.

Major League baseball seems to have rooted out performance-enhancing drugs, and business is strong. The league is in year two of an eight-year set of TV deals that are worth a total of over $12 billion.

The players are rich.

The owners are rich.

Despite consitently increasng ticket prices, more people are going to games.

So far in 2015, overall attendance is up over the previous season. Close to 18 million people have already been to a Major League game this spring.

Having said all that, baseball has a problem -- a major problem.

Kids are leaving the game ... in droves.

According to reports, between 2000 and 2013, the sport saw a better than 40-percent drop in youth participation.

That is precipitous.

Other sports are losing kids, too, but none of them at the rate that baseball is losing what amounts to two things: Lifelong fans and lifelong consumers of the game.

The troubling trend begs several questions, but for this space, there is one essential question: How concerning is this for companies leveraged to the business of baseball?

The answers are dynamic in two ways. First, the type of companies exposed are truly diverse -- ranging from a consumer products giant in Jarden   (JAH) to a Japanesse company in Mizuno to a Canadian company in Bauer.

All are tradeable and all are exposed at various degrees.

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