Thanks to the SportsBusiness Journal, we have a look at how baseball’s TV ratings have fared through the first two months of the season. Nationally, the numbers are a bit down overall from last year, with Fox and TBS hitting the same audience sizes and ESPN 15.4 percent lower than last year. The Journal calls the national ratings “essentially flat” from 2008.
The teams’ average ratings on regional sports networks are 2 percent lower collectively. However, the Rangers’ early-season success has translated into an audience that has more than doubled.
And how bad are the Nationals’ ratings? They are up nearly 56 percent from 2008 — the second-biggest jump in the majors — yet the team’s games on MASN still draw about half of 1 percent of the Washington market and average 12,000 households, the lowest in the majors by 7,000. The A’s (at 0.78) are the only other team with a rating under 1 and also the only other under 34,000 homes.
Baltimore-centric note: The Orioles rank second-to-last in the majors with those 34,000 homes, but keep in mind Baltimore is the No. 26 TV market in the country (only four major league cities are smaller — San Diego, Kansas City, Cincinnati and Milwaukee). So the Orioles’ 3.1 rating is actually higher than 10 other teams’ and up 13.1 percent over ’08.
The top five teams in ratings increases and decreases by percentage over last year (check the full list at SportsBusiness Journal):
Team rating increase
Rangers 2.28 111.1
Nationals 0.53 55.9
Royals 4.20 33.3
White Sox 2.12 32.5
Giants 3.12 24.3
Team rating decrease
A’s 0.78 62.9
Rockies 2.51 32.5
Red Sox 8.67 27.3
Diamondbacks 3.21 26.9
Indians 3.57 25.8
Notes: The A’s changed to a new channel this season. … The Braves are carried on two regional sports channels, with one showing a 29.1 drop and the other a 0.6 drop.