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We say ratings don’t matter, but …

Oct 24, 2013, 11:50 AM EST

Josh Freeman AP

As a baseball fan I know it’s silly to get wrapped up in ratings comparisons to other sports–baseball is dying! blah, blah, blah–but as a Minnesotan who actually went to a bar Monday night to watch the 1-4 Vikings and 0-6 Giants play what has to be one of the worst Monday Night Football games of all time … well, this made me sad:

I can’t imagine sticking through more than like 15 minutes of the MNF game if you weren’t a Minnesotan or a New Yorker, and even my group of Vikings fans at the bar pretty much gave up paying attention by the third quarter. And yet … more people watched than tuned in for Game 1 of the friggin World Series. Oh well.

UPDATE: So apparently those initial reports were a bit off. I’m now told that Game 1 averaged 14.4 million viewers, compared to 13.2 million for MNF. Doesn’t really change my overall point a ton, but it’s less sigh-inducing if nothing else.

  1. bucrightoff - Oct 24, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Losing to the worst Monday Nighter ever is bad, but baseball should be more concerned that the NBA is close to passing it in ratings too.

  2. gbfb88 - Oct 24, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    But I thought that baseball finally vanquished the evil NFL when the Ravens were sent to Denver on opening night!

  3. deathmonkey41 - Oct 24, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    That game was awful. The Pats/Jets earlier in the year was pretty bad too.

  4. sdelmonte - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    I’m still surprised when cable can compete with free TV, since I still think of cable TV as a luxury. I make a pretty good living, and refuse to pay those insane fees for all those channels I will never watch. And I always wonder why so many other people do that. Or how so many people can afford it.

    Though in NYC, the football game was on free TV and that could have inflated the ratings. Not that I watched, as the Giants are really bad.

    Will add, though, that I am also getting close to the point when I might quit watching football due to the revelations about how brutal the game is. Sadly, I don’t think many fans are thinking about this.

  5. ryanrockzzz - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    As someone who loves both sports, I think football reflects the society more. The average person can be turned off from baseball much more easily than football, who wins over many of the casual fans. You don’t normally hear office chatter about how great the Sox looked after winning Game 1. You hear all about Eli Manning. That also goes into the NFL being a marketing beast, and baseball still have no clue how to market anything, except to middle age white dudes.

    Also, as much as I hate to say it, unless you are a fan of the Cards or the Sox, you probably want nothing to do with either team, especially the Red Sox, since they get shoved down your throat every year by the national networks.

  6. bh192012 - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    I’ll admit that I watched that football game, but it was only after flipping through about 500 channels 3 times. There was NOTHING on. I put the football game on for sports like background noise.

    On Wednesday there was also NOTHING on. I put the baseball game on for sprots like background noise, because the A’s are not playing. Well that and the game was a blowout, unlike the almost competitive football game.

    I think that does a well enough job of explaining why both games got around the same viewership.

    • km9000 - Oct 24, 2013 at 5:41 PM

      But this isn’t really an anomaly. Had the football game been a blowout, and the baseball game closer, I’m not sure how much difference it would’ve made.

      Not that it mattered evidently, but it was funny how ESPN promoted the football game: “Two teams desperate for a win!”

    • gloccamorra - Oct 25, 2013 at 12:36 AM

      “500 channels and nothing on.” In the past I could always depend on Bob Vila to install a toilet.

  7. psousa1 - Oct 24, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    Baseball has become more regional interest.

    • erikeaglesfan1 - Oct 24, 2013 at 3:59 PM

      That is the problem, baseball does not translate well to TV, but is better in person. In order to compete for the big national TV money, they will need to find a way to speed up the game and make it more TV freindly. It is the only way teams in small markets will ever be able to compete regually as the national money can be used to bring payroll up. The luxury tax limit does nothing when there is no floor. The only people who watch baseball on TV are people who are fans of the teams playing and a few die hard fans. Football and basketball do a much better job of both marketing thier games and making thier product TV freindly. Football actually has the issue that thier product is too TV friendly and they are trying to find ways to make going to the game better than sitting at home, No one wants to watch a pich for ball one, have the batter step out, watch strike one, batter steps out and on it goes until the next at bat.

      • km9000 - Oct 24, 2013 at 5:48 PM

        Another problem inherent to baseball is that they can market stars all they want, but when a casual fan tunes in just to see someone, they get 4 at-bats and maybe a catch here and there.

        Also, in person there’s a lot of things to observe between pitches. On TV we’re stuck watching the hitter adjust their gloves, and the pitcher shaking signs off. Maybe a shot of the stoic manager.

      • gloccamorra - Oct 25, 2013 at 12:12 AM

        WHAT?? Baseball was MADE for TV. It has a commercial break every half inning, plus additional breaks for pitching changes. TV is a voracious consumer of material, and baseball supplies hours of it at a time. Aren’t the teams about to get an additional $30 million each next year from the new TV contract? The TV networks must be able to recoup that in advertising, so somebody, the kind of somebody advertisers want to reach, must be watching.

      • erikeaglesfan1 - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:54 PM

        The game itself does not show well on TV. Just because it gives lots of chances for commercials does not make it “made for TV”. It gets boring to watch. Thier new total contract is for 12.4 Billion over 8 years for 30 teams. This comes out to 52Mil per team per year. Not even close to enough to ensure competive ballance considering the local tv deals that get signed by teams in larger markets, If this is the “Big Money National TV Deal”, it is kind of small. In comparison, Basketball just signed thier 8 year deal at just short of 1 BIl a year and Baseball gets just over 1.5 Bil per year. Are you telling me that nationally Basketball is almost as popular as Baseball? The answer is no, it just is easier for fans of a team to watch a game not invoving thier team.

  8. jss1330 - Oct 24, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    I find watching Buck & McCarver a chore. One seems to be hell bent on making the game as dull as possible while the other gives me a lecture on something that may or may not be part of the current contest. And I’m in my mid-fifties how could this possibly appeal to twenty or thirty somethings?

    • gloccamorra - Oct 25, 2013 at 12:39 AM

      I was walking past a place called Mom’s Saloon and they had the TV on with the sound off. Two guys closest to the TV did their own hilarious voiceover when Buck and McCarver were talking. I guess you just gotta be with the right crowd.

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