Skip to content

Football gets better ratings than baseball. So what?

Nov 3, 2009, 10:55 AM EST

Jim Donaldson of the Providence Journal thinks he’s throwing bombs when he compares baseball television ratings to football ratings:

Baseball likes to think of itself – indeed, likes to bill itself — as the “National Pastime.” But that time is long gone, a distant memory . . . But, give your average sports fan a choice between watching baseball and watching football and, well, it’s as predictable as asking your average, 18-to-35-year-old, prime-demographic, prime-time sports-watching male whether he’d prefer a night out with Ugly Betty, or with Jessica Simpson.

Setting aside the fact that Jessica Simpson isn’t on any right-thinking 18-to-35 year-old’s top ten list anymore, Donaldson is right.  As he notes, the ratings for the end of the Packers-Vikings game this past weekend were higher than any World Series game in even this highly-rated Series.  And yes, the Hall of Fame Game got more viewers than did a Red Sox-Yankees game in August.

But who cares? The notion that football has surpassed baseball as the most popular sport in America is at least a decade old. Maybe older.  Football draws better ratings because it’s, in essence, an exclusively nationally-televised sport whereas the vast majority of baseball viewership takes place via regional sports networks.  And there are 10 times the number of baseball games as there are football games, so catching any one baseball game is nowhere near as important to the average fan of catching one must-see football game.  They’re different beasts, and I would be shocked if baseball ever outdraws football in the television ratings again.

And I’m totally fine with that. Because Donaldson’s apparent point — that football trumps baseball as the National Pasttime because of the ratings — is an empty one.  Have you seen what else leads the television ratings? Or the box office? Or the album charts?  I’m not even going to mention beer sales in all of this.

Popularity only measures what’s popular. It’s almost always completely divorced from what’s good.  Pro Football can be the National Pasttime.  I prefer to enjoy a more exclusive, higher quality product, thank you.  

100 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Hasdrubal - Nov 25, 2009 at 7:02 AM

    Has anyone ever watched The World Cup Qualifiers or The Champions League in Europe? That’s more exciting than either baseball of football. And one game is over in less than 2 hours! And the ratings are high worldwide regardless of the time because everyone can schedule the game in knowing when ITS GOING TO END!!!

  2. beatriz - Dec 11, 2009 at 7:56 AM

    Cool, there are actually some good ideas on this post some of my friends will find this relevant, I must send a link, many thanks.

  3. fish oil - Jan 16, 2010 at 8:26 AM

    The prices of fish oil products has risen significantly. I am giving my child 2 capsules a day to help him with math. Does anybody know where I an find an affordable solution? By the way, it is great. His grade went up 2 grades after consuming fish oil capsules.

  4. p90x routine - Jan 16, 2010 at 4:58 PM

    Here’s hoping that Britney’s best years are ahead of her!

  5. Carola Gurganus - Jan 16, 2010 at 7:43 PM

    Very nice site!

  6. buy land in coimbatore - Jan 18, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    Is it the time to buy land now? Prices went significanly low, but I dont want to be stuck in an non growing market!

  7. Ziya Fortunato - Jan 27, 2010 at 12:24 AM

    Hi – very good web site you have established. I enjoyed reading this posting. I did want to publish a remark to tell you that the design of this site is very aesthetically delightful. I used to be a graphic designer, now I am a copy editor for a marketing firm. I have always enjoyed working with information processing systems and am trying to learn computer code in my free time (which there is never enough of lol).

  8. Shery Maldenado - Jan 27, 2010 at 10:41 PM

    Lindsay is amazing! She is talented and everyone who do not think so is just envious. . But I am kinda depressed that she is a drug addict. Someone ought to give her some fancy so she will get her life under control!

  9. Benny Korando - Jan 30, 2010 at 4:06 AM

    Echt nie was gelesen davon, aber sehr interessant.

  10. Melida Arato - Jan 31, 2010 at 9:42 PM

    The best article I have ever read. Many ideas that emerged after I read your article. Very interesting and helped me. Thank you.

  11. Leon Kombe - Feb 3, 2010 at 5:39 AM

    Hello, excellent article, I thouroughly enjoyed reading it. This post gave me the kick to try my own article, please check my article by clicking my name at the top of this comment, thanks

  12. Arletha Pitstick - Feb 3, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    Hello there, superb post, I really enjoyed reading this. This blog gave me the kick to attempt my own article, please see my post by clicking my name at the top of this post, cheers

  13. Van Stansifer - Feb 4, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    To commercialise in full terms of quality rather than cost, and in order to differentiate accordingly, you necessitate to observe the popular format of the 4 Ps marketing plan. That is, Price, Product, Place and Promotion manifestly you cognize the central attributes of the product, and the price, but for place you should remember about the type of mass who are willing to pay over 4x price of competing product whereas the low-cost option may be sold where accent is on cost, your merchandise will be suited to places/distributors where the customers will be willing to pay for quality. Thank you for this article! I’ve just learned a easily wonderful news about seo marketing Taste it!

  14. watch one tree hill online - Feb 6, 2010 at 3:15 PM

    This is a really nice article….

  15. promotional clothing - Feb 8, 2010 at 10:56 PM

    Hey which play from last night’s Super Bowl did you think was the best? Do you think it was Drew Brees’ 32-for-39 passing performance, what do you guys think?

  16. Everett Mallozzi - Feb 9, 2010 at 1:40 PM

    http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/culturelab/2009/12/chanee-brule-last-night-a-dj-saved-a-gibbon.php|8

  17. Rambert - Feb 15, 2010 at 4:46 AM

    Negreanu is my most favorite Poker player. He’s a losing poker player in my head.

  18. facebook zynga poker - Feb 18, 2010 at 10:20 PM

    i might not have believed this was outstanding a handful years in the past but it’s surprising the way age switches the manner by which you respond to completely different creative concepts, many thanks for the article it truly is nice to read some thing intelligent once in a while instead of the widely seen crap mascarading as blogs on the net, cheers

  19. myspace poker chips - Feb 19, 2010 at 1:04 AM

    i probably would not have contemplated this had been great several years back and yet it’s amusing how time alters the manner you understand specific creative concepts, thank you with regard to the post it is relaxing to look over something sensible occasionally instead of the general nonsense mascarading as blogs on the net, cheers

  20. ARCHIE COX - Feb 21, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    This blog was awesome. This site was very informative.Thank you for this information.

  21. E Smoke Reviewer - Feb 22, 2010 at 10:27 AM

    PS- if you do decide this is a product you want be very firm with their sales reps, they outsource sales to a call center that serves companies that do “buyers clubs” and will sign you up for things (for me 4 separate “free offers” that charged my bank account a total for 132 dollars) if you’re not careful.

  22. Troy Schomas - Feb 23, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    Super! Vous pouvez aussi allez faire un tour sur starclubpoker.net

  23. Tyler - Feb 27, 2010 at 10:06 PM

    Are you on Twitter? Love to follow you but I can’t find you.

  24. shakeologyforlife - Feb 16, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    I agree with Tyler. Would be great to follow on Twitter as I found this post to be awesome even today!

  25. shakeologyforlife - Feb 16, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    Also, do you think that Football will always outrank Baseball, even considering the stale current state of Football that we’ve been experiencing? At least they all drink Shakeology regularly.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Cubs shore up rotation with Jon Lester
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Kang (2768)
  2. W. Myers (2527)
  3. D. Ross (2176)
  4. C. McGehee (2114)
  5. W. Middlebrooks (1968)
  1. J. Shields (1870)
  2. D. Haren (1855)
  3. T. Tulowitzki (1848)
  4. J. Upton (1832)
  5. M. Scutaro (1783)