SBJ/July 16-22, 2012/Media

Tigers burning bright in midseason ratings

Despite staying below .500 for much of the first half, the Detroit Tigers have posted the highest local RSN rating among MLB’s U.S.-based teams this season.

Detroit-area fans are high on the Tigers and new arrival Prince Fielder, sending ratings up nearly 50 percent.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES

The Tigers, an early-season favorite this year after signing free agent Prince Fielder, were averaging an 8.65 rating on FS Detroit at the All-Star break, up 46 percent from the same point last season and marking the team’s highest local rating since at least 1996 (as far back as SportsBusiness Journal’s local TV records go). The 159,000 Detroit homes that tune in to each game on average represent MLB’s fifth-highest such mark so far this season.

MLB’s other strong local media stories include the Cincinnati Reds, Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals, who have posted their highest ratings on record. In addition, the Pittsburgh Pirates are experiencing their highest local TV numbers since 1997.

In Cincinnati, the Reds have parlayed their strong start on the field into the league’s second-highest local TV rating. Reds games have averaged an 8.45 rating on FS Ohio, up 8 percent from last year.

MLB teams’ RSN ratings

AVERAGE RATING
Top 5
Team RSN Avg. rating (Change)
Detroit Tigers FS Detroit 8.65 (+45.9%)
Cincinnati Reds FS Ohio 8.45 (+7.9%)
St. Louis Cardinals FS Midwest 8.32 (-8.2%)
Boston Red Sox NESN 7.37 (-3.0%)
Texas Rangers FS Southwest 6.17 (+82.5%)
Bottom 5
Chicago White Sox CSN Chicago 1.85 (+10.8%)
San Diego Padres FS San Diego 1.82 (-49.2%)
Houston Astros FS Houston 1.27 (-24.0%)
Oakland A’s CSN California 1.11 (-14.6%)
Los Angeles Angels FS West 1.06 (-4.5%)
 
RATING CHANGE
Top 5
Team RSN Change (Avg. rating)
Texas Rangers FS Southwest +82.5% (6.17)
Los Angeles Dodgers Prime Ticket +61.7% (1.94)
Tampa Bay Rays FS Florida/Sun Sport +58.1% (5.47)
Washington Nationals MASN/MASN2 +50.7% (2.23)
Detroit Tigers FS Detroit +45.9% (8.65)
Bottom 5
Cleveland Indians SportsTime Ohio -23.6% (4.82)
Houston Astros FS Houston -24.0% (1.27)
Colorado Rockies Root Sports Rocky Mountain -25.3% (3.42)
Philadelphia Phillies CSN -32.8% (5.89)
San Diego Padres FS San Diego -49.2% (1.82)
 
AVG. AUDIENCE SIZE
Top 6
Team RSN Avg. no. of Households (Change)
New York Yankees YES 304,000 (-1.0%)
New York Mets SportsNet NY 190,000 (+11.1%)
Philadelphia Phillies CSN 176,000 (-33.3%)
Boston Red Sox NESN 175,000 (-6.4%)
Texas Rangers FS Southwest 159,000 (+80.7%)
Detroit Tigers FS Detroit 159,000 (+42.0%)
Bottom 5
Kansas City Royals FS Kansas City 38,000 (+11.8%)
Miami Marlins FS Florida 35,000 (-2.8%)
Oakland A’s CSN California 28,000 (-15.2%)
Houston Astros FS Houston 28,000 (-22.2%)
San Diego Padres FS San Diego 20,000 (-48.7%)

“Detroit and Cincinnati are great baseball markets, and the Tigers and Reds have given their fans a reason to cheer — and to tune in,” said Jeff Krolik, executive vice president for Fox Sports Networks. “Local ratings are up in many of our markets, which speaks to the overall strength of the game.”

Following two consecutive trips to the World Series, the Rangers are again in first place in the standings, and the team’s ratings on FS Southwest have showed the biggest increase in the league this season. The Rangers’ 6.17 average rating is up 83 percent from last year.

After seven years, it appears the Nationals are making big strides in their home market: The team’s average of 53,000 homes that tune in to games on MASN, MASN2 and WDCW-TV locally is the highest number since the franchise moved to Washington, D.C., in 2005. At last year’s All-Star break, the Nats’ average of 29,000 homes was the league’s lowest.

Last year’s local TV champion, the Philadelphia Phillies, have seen their TV ratings mirror their last-place performance on the field in 2012. The team’s ratings have dropped to seventh place this year, as its 5.89 average rating on CSN in Philadelphia is down 33 percent from last year.

Two teams in transition also have seen their local ratings drop sharply this season.

The Padres, who moved to FS San Diego this season, and the Astros, who are winding up their last season on FS Houston, are posting their lowest ratings since at least 1996.

The Padres’ 1.82 rating is down 49 percent from last season, and their average of 20,000 homes per game is the league’s lowest. The team’s local TV performance is hurt by the carriage battle that has kept the channel off the market’s second-biggest cable operator, Time Warner Cable.

The problems in Houston have more to do with on-field performance. With the worst record in MLB, the Astros’ 1.27 rating is down 24 percent from last year.

Analysis was done on ratings for 29 U.S. MLB teams. In Canada, Toronto Blue Jays games on Sportsnet average 602,600 viewers, a 22 percent increase from last year, according to BBM Canada.

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