SBD/October 9, 2012/Media

TBS' MLB Overnight Playoff Average Remains Up 4%; MLB Net Sees Record Audience

Yankees-Orioles ALDS Game 2 scores 3.6 overnight on TBS last night
TBS is averaging a 2.9 overnight Nielsen rating through four days of MLB postseason coverage (eight games), up 4% from the same period last year. The net is also seeing growth among all key adult demos, with the biggest gains among males 25-54 (+15%). Last night's Yankees-Orioles ALDS Game 2 earned a 3.6 overnight up against ESPN's Texans-Jets "MNF," which drew an 11.0 overnight (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

STRONG START: TBS is averaging a 2.3 U.S. rating and 3.6 million viewers through the first three days of MLB postseason coverage, up 15% and 14%, respectively from the net’s coverage through the same period last season. Excluded from TBS’ average was Reds-Giants NLDS Game 2, which was moved to TNT after Yankees-Orioles ALDS Game 1 had a long rain delay. That Reds-Giants game earned a 0.9 U.S. rating and 1.5 million viewers. On Sunday, TBS averaged a 2.0 U.S. rating and 3.2 million viewers, up 11% in both metrics compared to the third day of playoff coverage last season. Nationals-Cardinals NLDS Game 1earned an 8.4 local rating in DC, marking the best MLB game rating in the market since the club relocated in ’05. Yankees-Orioles Game 1 earned a 20.4 local rating in Baltimore, marking the best figure in the market for any Orioles game since the ’97 ALCS (TBS). MLB network averaged 1.3 million viewers for A’s-Tigers ALDS Game 2 on Sunday afternoon, marking the net’s best audience ever. The four-year-old network’s first postseason game beat out the previous high audience set last Tuesday for a Red Sox-Yankees telecast (MLB).

CAPITAL GAINS: In DC, Dan Steinberg noted TBS’ Nationals-Cardinals Game 1 “went head-to-head with the end of a Redskins game and a full slate of late-afternoon NFL contests” on Sunday and still set a local ratings record. The “previous high this season came on Oct. 1, the night the Nats clinched their first NL East title.” MASN earned a 7.4 local rating in DC for that telecast. Despite the superlative for the Nationals’ game, Fox’ Redskins-Falcons “received a far larger local audience.” That telecast earned a 25.4 local rating in DC (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 10/8).

TALKING HEADS: In N.Y., Bob Raissman notes TBS’ Craig Sager last night during the Yankees-Orioles Game 2 last night said that Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez’ “offensive woes could be ending” after a single in the third inning. Sager “claimed this was a result of some added time Rodriguez spent” with hitting coach Kevin Long. Raissman: “Outside of Sager’s report, the TBS voices didn’t really dissect A-Rod’s swing. Or even try to explain why he’s fall off an offensive cliff.” The TBS voices “were interested in the shrewd defensive play” Rodriguez pulled off in the third inning when Orioles OF Adam Jones singled under SS Derek Jeter’s glove. Orioles SS J.J. Hardy, “who was on second, should have scored easily but lost sight of the ball.” TBS “nailed this on replay” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/9).

NO AFTERNOON DELIGHT: The WASHINGTON POST's Steinberg notes Cardinals-Nationals NLDS Game 3 is set for 1:07pm ET tomorrow on MLB Network, and both the game time and the network "were quickly met by howls of outrage by some Nats fans, who argued their top-seeded team deserved better during the city's first major league playoff appearance in 79 years." Some viewers "may discover that they don't have the proper subscription package to receive the network." The early-afternoon start time "wasn't surprising for Wednesday, when the A's-Tigers will be in the Western time zone if Oakland avoids a sweep Tuesday night and the popular New York Yankees virtually locked into a prime-time slot" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/9). USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand notes putting the Cardinals-Nationals game on MLBN "could help build awareness of the channel, but MLB should do what the NFL does for NFL Network games: allow local over-the-air-coverage in markets of the teams playing" (USA TODAY, 10/9).

PAYING A PRICE FOR PLAYOFFS: In Sacramento, Tom Couzens writes when MLBN officials announced the net's first game would be A's-Tigers ALDS Game 1 on Sunday at 12:07pm ET, "they made it clear they were not putting the interest of the fans first." It could be understood "if there had been a conflict Sunday, if two games were scheduled at the same time." But that "wasn't the case, so there was no reason to push the A's from TBS, which is part of most basic TV packages, to the MLB Network -- other than greed." There was "nothing exclusive about Sunday's A's-Tigers game, other than it was too 'exclusive' for fans who were unable to watch it" (SACBEE.com, 10/9).
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