SBD/April 29, 2013/Media

Mets' Matt Harvey Has Given SNY An Early Season Ratings Boost

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Harvey's impact on Mets ratings compares to that of Mike Piazza and Pedro Martinez
A strong start to the season by Mets P Matt Harvey is having a positive impact on the club beyond the standings. Harvey’s 4-0 record in five starts heading into tonight’s game against the Marlins has the 24-year-old turning heads on TV and social media. SportsNet N.Y., the Mets’ RSN, is seeing a spike in ratings when the No. 7 pick in the ’10 draft is on the mound. Overall, Harvey’s starts are drawing 14% more viewers than the team’s other games. Ratings among adults 25-54 are up 35% for Harvey's starts, while ratings among males 25-54 are up 38% compared to non-Harvey games. Another feather in SNY’s cap has Harvey's starts outpacing head-to-head against Yankees broadcasts on YES Network in the N.Y. market. Those Mets games have drawn a 2.55 local rating, while the Yankees have posted a 2.42 rating. SNY President Steve Raab said, “At the end of the day, while he’s been fantastic, it’s a team winning and playing exciting baseball; it’s that umbrella that moves the needle on a more macro scale for a team and in our case, SNY.” Making the increased interest is these games more impressive is that they are going up against not just the Yankees, but playoff pushes by the area’s NHL and NBA teams.

CREATING A BUZZ IN THE BOROUGHS: There have been only a few examples of a player impacting Mets' ratings the way that Harvey has done. Raab said, “We saw it years ago pre-SNY when Pedro (Martinez) came to the Mets. He brought a different level of credibility. I think we saw it when (Johan) Santana first joined the Mets. I would say we’ve seen it mostly with pitchers, but back in the day we saw this with Mike Piazza.” He added, “The difference is Pedro, Santana, Piazza -- they were established stars. Dwight Gooden, back in the ’83, ’84 time period, Dwight Gooden had some of the same impact. There was buzz of a home-grown talent.” The hype around Harvey, arguably the Mets’ top pitching prospect in nearly two decades, extends beyond the Big Apple -- ESPN analyst Curt Schilling recently said that he would take Harvey over Nationals P Stephen Strasburg.

SOCIAL GRACES: Harvey has more than 33,000 followers on his verified Twitter account. On April 1, he had 23,110 followers and added nearly 2,000 in the following week. By April 15, Harvey had approximately 29,000. A Twitter spokeperson said “follower growth” for accounts belonging to MLB pitchers “seems steady, and then there's a very big jump on the day of or following their start.” Meanwhile, it is still too early to predict Harvey’s overall appeal and marketability. Marketing Evaluations VP Henry Schafer, whose company creates Q Scores, said Harvey’s first measurement will come in July and among sports fans next March. An average sports personality gets about 30% level of awareness nationally and about a 16% positive Q Score. Schafer said of Harvey, “If he continues along the lines he is now, I think he’ll surpass those averages.” The one area where Harvey has yet to create a bump is at the gate. Mets games at Citi Field are averaging 26,344 fans, while Harvey’s three home starts -- two Wednesdays and a Friday -- have drawn an average of 24,348.
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