MLB a regional TV ratings monster
Think Major League Baseball is dying? Better check out those local TV ratings.
For whatever reason, a certain segment of sports fans and media have been trumpeting the idea that "baseball is dying" for the past decade or so. It's intensified the past few years. I'm guessing part of it is due to the NFL being exponentially more popular, part is due to national ratings not being overly strong and part is due to a simple-mindedness that can't be shaken. My colleague Dayn Perry recently covered the subject quite well.
Another part of the equation? Baseball fans like to watch their own team and don't much care to watch others. This is why the national ratings aren't great. Break it down regionally and, well, a different picture is painted.
In a piece for Forbes.com Tuesday, Maury Brown notes that Major League Baseball is absolutely thriving in local ratings. Check this out:
According to the information from Nielsen, of the 29 U.S.-based clubs in the league, 12 of them are the #1-rated programming in prime time since the start of the season in their home markets, beating both broadcast and cable competition. These teams include the Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee Brewers, Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Another 7 teams rank in the top three in local prime time TV ratings on their respective RSNs, including the Tampa Bay Rays, Minnesota Twins, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, and [Colorado] Rockies.
That leaves only the Dodgers and Astros who aren't doing well -- and with the Blue Jays being in Canada, Nielson doesn't have the information -- which is hardly surprising with the respective fights between the clubs and local TV carriers. So, basically, the only two teams in America not doing well in ratings aren't doing well because people don't have the option to watch.
This is partially why the allegedly "dying" sport of baseball is turning an estimated $9 billion profit on an annual basis.
Still, feel free to continue the nonsense narrative just because MLB isn't as popular as the NFL.
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