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Way to kill the “baseball is dead” narrative: local broadcast ratings are up

May 4, 2012, 10:00 AM EDT

old TV

I know this will all be ignored the next time a national game of the week gets lower ratings than a broadcast of Aaron Rodgers riding his bicycle or something, but it is probably worth noting that broadcast ratings for baseball are up this year. At least the local ones which, as I’ve argued at length over the years, are the ones that really matter. And at least on the Fox affiliates.

Fox send me a press release yesterday noting that ten teams have seen increased ratings over April 2011 games, lead by the Yu Darvish-fueled Rangers broadcasts at an +89%. Also seeing increases: The Dodgers (+67%), Diamondbacks (+53%), Rays (+51%), Tigers (+50%), Braves (+39%) and the Cardinals (+15%).  Three other teams have see single-digit ratings increases.

But seriously, folks, baseball is dying.

  1. darthicarus - May 4, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    I can remember season when I had to check to see if a Tigers game was actually going to be televised (hooray Pass Sports!). Fast forward to present day (last year specifically) when people were actually pissed that there was going to be ONE Tigers game not aired on television, and if I recall it did end up getting aired anyhow. But yeah, I can see, literally, how people can still say the sport is dying…now pardon me while I check my fantasy lineups & countdown for today’s afternoon Cubs game.

  2. mybrunoblog - May 4, 2012 at 10:12 AM

    Whenever things like this happen fans and the media spend countless hours trying to analyze why rating are up. Who cares? Glad to see baseball doing well no matter what the reason.

    • atworkident - May 4, 2012 at 10:20 AM

      I think it helps that baseball isn’t pushing Red Sox & Yankees on us.

      Correction: I think it helps that baseball has become more than just the Red Sox and Yankees. ESPN and Fox and TBS and MLBN still put them on at least 2-3 times a week but there are other teams people can get excited about watching.

  3. detroitfanatic - May 4, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    Grammatical errors were up (+15%) as well during that post.

    • Alex K - May 4, 2012 at 11:55 AM

      Grammatical errors were up (+15%), as well, during that post.

      FTFY

      • detroitfanatic - May 4, 2012 at 1:12 PM

        either thanks, or right back at you.

  4. tuftsb - May 4, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    The corpse of baseball in LA just was sold for $ 2 billion, which is probably the present value of the income stream from an imminent television deal. Teams like Seattle, San Diego and Houston are signing lucrative contracts. Thanks to RSN’s and MLBAM, baseball’s revenues did not dip during the recession and the league did not experience operationg losses and/or declines in franchise asset values that the other leagues did.

    I await the low attendance porn articles….oops – baseball attendance is up in 2012

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/current_attendance.shtml

    • ltzep75 - May 4, 2012 at 2:14 PM

      I’m not sure where I saw this (possibly here), but I’m under the impression that the new ownership group is exploring the possibility of developing the land behind the ballpark (chavez revine itself). This also could account for the price and render it somewhat closer to market value.

      …Or I could just be pulling that info right out of my ass (much like the authors of the “baseball is dead” line of articles).

  5. Jonny 5 - May 4, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    LOL @ Craig thinking ratings have killed the “baseball is dead” narrative.

  6. cltjump - May 4, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    I love how you write this every year, but no one ever remembers it. Baseball is alive and kickin’.

  7. paperlions - May 4, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    If 10 teams have seen an increase in their local ratings, what about the other 20 teams? I realize Fox doesn’t own the local broadcast rights to all teams, but I am sure they own them for more than 10.

    Regardless of the narrative, lets have ALL the data, not just the “good news”.

    • The Dangerous Mabry - May 4, 2012 at 11:37 AM

      Based on http://msn.foxsports.com/home/page/fsn, it looks like Fox has rights to:

      Diamondbacks (Mentioned)
      Braves (Mentioned)
      Tigers (Mentioned)
      Rays (Mentioned)
      Marlins
      Astros
      Cardinals (Mentioned)
      Twins
      Royals
      Reds
      Rangers (Mentioned)
      Dodgers (Mentioned)
      Angels
      Brewers
      Boston (apparently NESN is a fox affiliate? I had no idea)

      That’s 15 teams, and 7 are mentioned directly. So 3 of the others are seeing increases, and the other 5 either are seeing decreases, or Fox doesn’t have data because of some kind of broadcast rights change or something along those lines I guess.

      Interesting that the Marlins didn’t make the cut. All that money, and apparently there’s still nobody who cares.

      • tpxdmd - May 4, 2012 at 11:47 AM

        NESN isn’t a Fox affiliate. They has used FOX Sports programming to fill their gaps, because it’s not a true 24/7 channel.

      • The Dangerous Mabry - May 4, 2012 at 1:36 PM

        Ah. I didn’t think they were, so I feel better about that then. It’s probably 14 teams with Fox broadcasts, then, not 15.

  8. iranuke - May 4, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    What I would like to see is a study to compare the number of eyeballs that watch baseball (one person/one game = 1 eyeball) compared to the number of eyeballs that watch the NFL. My guess is that the number of baseball eyeballs would be much greater.

  9. tuftsb - May 4, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    Yes, the dedication level is a problem. People aren’t dying to play baseball anymore.

  10. skids003 - May 4, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Glad to hear baseball is doing good, but if this came from FOX, I thought anyone liberal would think it’s not true. Before you libs bash me, I’m just joking!!!!

  11. bleedingteal4life - May 4, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Apparently the author’s eye for detail is dying as well. Typos!

  12. The Rabbit - May 4, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    As I mentioned the other day, starting about two weeks go, our cable company here in Brigadoon is now broadcasting Royals games in addition to what has been exclusively Cardinals’ territory.
    However, after 10 minutes of listening to the (new) Royals’ announcers, I had a tough decision: sticking ice picks in both ears, praying the mute button worked, or getting so drunk I didn’t care.
    Both of these guys were terminated by the Angels. Smart move by Fox KC to bring them in as a team.
    Therefore, any decrease in ratings may not be due to the “product” on the field.

    • ltzep75 - May 4, 2012 at 2:17 PM

      Try option three. Works for me when I watch football and am forced to listen to the espn crew.

    • sportsdrenched.com - May 4, 2012 at 3:42 PM

      Yeah, I’m not exactly thrilled with the new TV Broadcast either. I listen a lot on the radio too. I get that Denny Matthews deserves to take some raod games off. But they have turned something that used to be enjoyable and consistant, even during 100 loss seasons, into something inconsistant and irritating.

  13. foreverchipper10 - May 4, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    If I could watch more Braves games here in PA I would. Sigh. Thank you root (for Pirates) and SNY for Mets. Stupid DirecTV blacks out Phils games for me.

  14. denny65 - May 4, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    The good news: my local television provider here in Alaska–MTA–carries 150 of the Seattle Mariners 162 games.

    The bad news: my local television provider here in Alaska–MTA–carries 150 of the Seattle Mariners 162 games.

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