Big changes for baseball as season starts: MLB's Rob Manfred

Opening day means the start of the Major League Baseball season and the organization is incorporating two big changes to games.

"We are going to shorten the time between innings ... and we are also focusing on the length of mound visits," MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told CNBC on Monday. He aims to cut six minutes from games this season compared to last year.

Shortening games is not the only challenge MLB is facing. Like many other entities, it aims to attract a younger generation. The average MLB viewer is 53 years old, according to ESPN, and bringing in a younger generation has been a lingering problem.

"We are trying to be way more competitive in the market for young people," Manfred said on "Closing Bell." He told CNBC that MLB's participation grew 4 percent in the past year, a sign that its efforts have began to "bear fruits."

Manfred said Monday that digital engagement has been a successful strategy to attract a younger consumer for MLB.

"Seven million fans a day open the [MLB] app," he said. Still, it's tricky to ramp up digital offerings while maintaining its established fan base, but the happy medium is to "find a change that fans want," he said.

"Instant replay is a great example, that old and young, will embrace technology."

MLB recently snagged a deal with tech giant Apple where the company will provide baseball team managers with iPads, a change to the old no-electronics policy the organization had for dugouts. Manfred told CNBC that he expects the change to expedite the process of matching batters and pitchers.

"We watched managers and coaches go into the dugouts with 3-inch notebooks full of information ... it seemed that the visual of having an iPad out there making the game consonant with the way the rest of us live was a change that was worth making," he said.