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Early season TV ratings are booming

Apr 5, 2011, 3:36 PM EDT

old TV

SportsBusiness Daily reports that multiple teams have seen increased ratings in the early going, as have the national networks who broadcast games:

The Orioles’ four-game average in Baltimore has pulled in a 7.8 rating and 79,000 HHs. The team last season averaged a 3.4 rating in Baltimore … Meanwhile, WPHL-MYT’s broadcast of Friday’s Astros-Phillies game “set an opening-day rating record” for the net, while Sunday’s game between the two teams “broke the record for a regular-season telecast.”

Same goes for the Rangers and the Blue Jays, who each saw big opening series numbers, as did FOX and ESPN over the weekend.

Cold weather over much of the country had to have helped, but so too, I think, do the facts that (a) the season starting on a Thursday/Friday for most teams was a good move, as people are way more likely to slough off work or to stay up late later in the week than for a Monday start; and (b) there are a lot more teams with legitimate shots at contention this year than we’re used to seeing. There’s some definite excitement in the fan base.

Both just my gut feelings, of course. But the beginning of the year certainly feels different this season than in previous ones.

  1. roycethebaseballhack - Apr 5, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    I’m thrilled to see The Orioles pulling in big numbers, but I’m really confused by it. I just spent nine days in Gaithersberg, Md. – a short 30 miles from Baltimore. I figured with the season starting, and with the O’s storied history, and the buzz on their prospects this year, I thought I’d find the place awash in orange and black. Instead, I saw nothing. In nine days of running between buildings and hotels and local eateries, how many Orioles fans did I see sporting a Baltimore Birds hat, or any of their swag? None. Not a single one. No Ripken jerseys, no tee shirts, not even a single bumper sticker. And I looked, man. Nothing. No Nationals stuff, either. I did see two Boston Red Sox hats, and one NY Yankees hat, but I dismissed those as posers.
    I understand those fans might feel a bit jaded after these decades of futility, but…dang.

    • schmedley69 - Apr 5, 2011 at 10:16 PM

      Gaithersburg is closer to D.C. than Baltimore, and the Orioles fan-base has been beaten down by 10+ hopeless, losing seasons. Sadly, Baltimore is much more of a football town now, but these things are cyclical.

  2. The Dangerous Mabry - Apr 5, 2011 at 4:42 PM

    I still don’t like Friday Openers. It’s going to lead to me missing the first Mets home opener since 1996, and that’s a shame. Still, I understand the value in showing strong ratings and it doesn’t hurt much, so I guess it was a good move overall.

  3. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Apr 5, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    I enjoy watching baseball.

    • Utley's Hair - Apr 5, 2011 at 5:17 PM

      Heyward!!!! Your boss is right behind you!!! With a cake!!

  4. Old Gator - Apr 5, 2011 at 5:17 PM

    I suspect the Orioles are getting the hits because the Tea Party decerebrates have banded together to stuff the ballot box for Luke Scott the way they stuffed the ballot box for that lumbering refugee hippopotamus from Fantasia, Bristol Palin, on Dancing with the Stars.

  5. sportsdrenched - Apr 5, 2011 at 6:18 PM

    As much as I liked Opening Day on the same Monday as the NCAA Title game. I liked having the season start before the weekend. But I was going to watch baseball regardless of it’s start date.

  6. florida76 - Apr 5, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    The real test of the TV ratings will be the World Series, which has had terrible ratings since the strike, even when the Yankees are playing. Time will tell, MLB will get a boost if the NFL season is disrupted.

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