SBD/Issue 21/The Back of the Book

MLB Regular-Season Ratings Down On National Nets, Most RSNs

TV ratings for MLB games "were down almost across the board," as the national networks and most RSNs "suffered significant declines during the regular season," according to John Ourand in this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Fox’s MLB ratings dropped 13% for its Saturday afternoon package, while ESPN's cable ratings fell 7%. TBS posted a 0.5 cable rating in its first full season of Sunday afternoon MLB games, averaging 624,000 viewers. That is down from a 0.6 cable rating, or 897,000 viewers, last year, which was the net’s final year televising Braves’ Sunday afternoon games. Local ratings were down as well, with 19 RSNs showing a dip. Only 11 RSNs saw ratings increases for regular-season games. RSN execs said that they "expect such year-to-year fluctuations, and say baseball’s local telecasts still draw good ratings, even if they are off a bit." CSN Exec VP & Chief Revenue Officer Ray Warren: “Even a bad year is a better year than a lot of other cable networks have.” FSN’s performance was "virtually flat," off 4% from last year. FSN Exec VP/Ad Sales Kyle Sherman: “That’s an acceptable variance. ... Overall, I think we held up extremely well.” With an average of only 8,000 homes tuning in for each game, the Nationals had "by far the lowest audience of any team, and showed a bigger year-to-year percentage drop" than any MLB team (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/13 issue).

   
----- HH RATING -----
--- HOUSEHOLDS (000) ---
NET
TEAM
'08
'07
% +/-
'08
'07
% +/-
FSN Florida
Rays
3.47
1.74
99.4%
62
31
100.0%
CSN Chicago
White Sox
2.19
1.31
67.2%
76
45
68.9%
Sun Sports
Marlins
3.68
3.03
21.5%
57
47
21.3%
CSN Chicago
Cubs
4.96
4.21
17.8%
172
145
18.6%
FSN Florida
Marlins
3.63
3.14
15.6%
56
48
16.7%
FSN Southwest
Rangers
1.60
1.40
14.3%
39
34
14.7%
FSN North
Twins
7.47
6.84
9.2%
127
115
10.4%
FSN Prime Ticket
Dodgers
2.00
1.90
5.3%
113
108
4.6%
FSN Midwest
Cardinals
7.89
7.50
5.2%
98
92
6.5%
CSN Philadelphia
Phillies
5.75
5.53
4.0%
169
163
3.7%
FSN Wisconsin
Brewers
7.47
7.45
0.3%
67
66
1.5%
SNY
Mets
3.24
3.26
-0.6%
239
240
-0.4%
FSN Ohio
Reds
4.92
4.96
-0.8%
44
44
0.0%
CSN Bay Area
A's
1.73
1.77
-2.3%
42
42
0.0%
FSN Rocky Mountain
Rockies
3.28
3.47
-5.5%
48
50
-4.0%
YES
Yankees
4.22
4.69
-10.0%
312
346
-9.8%
MASN/MASN2
Orioles
2.64
3.00
-12.0%
29
33
-12.1%
FSN West
Angels
1.40
1.60
-12.5%
77
92
-16.3%
FSN Pittsburgh
Pirates
2.76
3.24
-14.8%
32
38
-15.8%
FSN Arizona
D'Backs
4.06
4.79
-15.2%
73
83
-12.0%
CSN Bay Area
Giants
2.32
2.77
-16.2%
56
66
-15.2%
FSN Detroit
Tigers
6.26
7.54
-17.0%
121
146
-17.1%
NESN
Red Sox
10.12
12.20
-17.0%
242
289
-16.3%
FSN Southwest
Astros
3.08
3.94
-21.8%
63
78
-19.2%
SportSouth
Braves
2.46
3.42
-28.1%
57
75
-24.0%
FSN South
Braves
2.38
3.33
-28.5%
55
73
-24.7%
SportsTime Ohio
Indians
3.88
5.80
-33.1%
60
89
-32.6%
Cox/SD4
Padres
4.21
7.03
-40.1%
44
72
-38.9%
FSN Northwest
Mariners
4.16
8.22
-49.4%
74
142
-47.9%
MASN/MASN2
Nationals
0.34
0.69
-50.7%
8
16
-50.0%
FSN Kansas City*
Royals
2.84
n/a
n/a
26
n/a
n/a
NOTES: * = Royals games were aired locally on KC Metro Sports last year.
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