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Playoff ratings were up 20 percent from last year

Oct 31, 2013, 9:30 PM EDT

old TV

So much for the whole “baseball is dying” theme. MLB issued the following press release this afternoon declaring this year’s playoffs as a ratings success:

For the entire month of Postseason baseball beginning with the Wild Card games, viewership increased +20% across FOX, TBS and MLB Network (6.3 million average viewers), the largest year-over-year increase since 2009. In addition, 2013 marks the first year since 2001 that viewership increased for every round of the Postseason as well as the All-Star Game.

The World Series finished with an average of 14.9 million viewers, up +17% over last year and marking the largest year-over-year viewership increase for the World Series since 2009. As for Game 6 on Wednesday night, 19.2 million viewers tuned in, making it the most-watched MLB game since Game 7 of the 2011 World Series, based on Nielsen data. The game was the highest-rated show across all of television on Wednesday, and FOX once again won the night in primetime against all competition, something it has done on all six nights of the World Series.

There are some caveats with this announcement, as the Associated Press points out. Last year’s World Series had the lowest average rating ever and didn’t have much drama to it, so it didn’t take much for this one to be a marked improvement by comparison. This year’s World Series will also go down as the lowest-rated for a matchup that went at least six games. However, it’s perfectly logical to see this as a sign of the times with television viewership on the whole as opposed to “sky is falling” evidence of baseball’s downfall. All in all, a pretty good month for MLB.

  1. indaburg - Oct 31, 2013 at 10:08 PM

    The Dead Collector: Bring out yer dead.
    Media: Here’s one.
    The Dead Collector: That’ll be ninepence.
    MLB: I’m not dead.
    The Dead Collector: What?
    Media: Nothing. There’s your ninepence.
    MLB: I’m not dead.
    The Dead Collector: ‘Ere, he says he’s not dead.
    Media: Yes, he is.
    MLB: I’m not.
    The Dead Collector: He isn’t.
    Media: Well, he will be soon, he’s very ill.
    MLB: I’m getting better.
    Media: No, you’re not, you’ll be stone dead in a moment.

  2. hildezero - Oct 31, 2013 at 10:18 PM

    Fact is, baseball IS dying. Like it or not.

    • Anoesis - Nov 1, 2013 at 12:44 AM

      You sound like that morbid troll lurking at the back of the funeral while everyone else wonders who you are and why you’re there.

    • bfunk1978 - Nov 1, 2013 at 10:54 AM

      Thanks for this insightful and well-reasoned post.

  3. tfbuckfutter - Oct 31, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    Weird what happens when high profile teams make the most noise in the playoffs.

    Aside from people in Detroit and San Fransisco, who even remembers last years World Series teams?

    Who knows off the top of their head who played in the 2008 World Series? Or 2010?

    • Francisco (FC) - Nov 1, 2013 at 7:58 AM

      Off the top of my head Rays vs Phillies in ’08 (Then again I’m a Phillies fan). Giants vs Rangers in ’10. I know the recent ones.

      Also in this age of the INTERNET and instant information, remembering these things is not really necessary anymore.

    • clydeserra - Nov 1, 2013 at 3:40 PM

      I live in SF. I was having a hard time remembering who won in 2012

  4. NYTolstoy - Oct 31, 2013 at 10:57 PM

    silly people baseball can’t die. It’s not an actual organism so jokes on you it was never alive.

  5. papichulo55 - Oct 31, 2013 at 11:52 PM

    Not so fast. The best way to check a plant is to look at its roots. Little League participation is down 25 percent. American kids play more Soccer than Baseball in our schools. The surest way of making a problem worse is by pretending it doesnt exist. Too bad there isnt any big money to be made in reviving interest in our Little Leagues.

    • clydeserra - Nov 1, 2013 at 3:41 PM

      total anecdote:

      I know more baseball fans that didn’t play little league (or the equivalent) that did.

  6. hildezero - Nov 1, 2013 at 12:08 AM

    Exactly. There was even a study done last year I think, that got international attention. The study was about the favorite sports of people in America from ages 12-24. Football was at one and soccer at two.

    • bender4700 - Nov 1, 2013 at 12:32 AM

      Baseball will bounce back, football will take a hit. All the concussion fuss, it will be enough to scare off worried moms. That movement is picking up steam.

  7. bender4700 - Nov 1, 2013 at 12:31 AM

    The 2nd largest media market had a team in it for 2 rounds, Boston was in it the whole way.

    Probably has a lot to do with it. Yankees swept out in ALCS, Red Sox not in, neither LA area team in at all.

  8. bmoreravens1012013 - Nov 1, 2013 at 12:51 AM

    You my friend , are just like the suits at MLB: IN DENIAL! I’m a die hard Orioles fan and I was done from watching baseball since my team wasn’t in it. I even played baseball when I was younger and I’m a 35 year old African American male. Unless you lived in those two cities, or possess a rooting interest in those teams, then you didn’t care to watch. The game is too slow and long for the microwave society we live in today. It’s reality, and until MLB goes down like the titanic, it -and -folks such as yourself will continue to hold the curtain steady. It’s the same high payroll teams in the World Series year in and year out. Don’t throw me a Tampa bay one year…they lost the one time a underdog got that far. It’s why casual fans such as myself watch NFL til the cows come home. I already know my Orioles don’t have a shot to win the World Series and its not even spring training! However , I believe my Ravens can win the superbowl any given year. I know its a broad comparison , but its viable nonetheless.

    • dan1111 - Nov 1, 2013 at 6:40 AM

      Besides the Rays, the 2010 Rangers made it to the World Series on an opening day payroll ranked 27th. The 2007 Rockies and 2003 winners the Marlins were both ranked 25th. So that is four teams in 11 years who made it to the Series despite having a rock-bottom payroll.

      Some recent World Series teams who were ranked no higher than 10th in Payroll: this year’s Cardinals (11th); both teams in 2002, 2005, 2006, 2010, and 2011; 2004 Cardinals.

      Yes, spending more money increases a team’s chance of success, but the “buying championships” narrative is seriously overplayed. More than half of recent World Series teams had middle of the pack payrolls or lower. All but four teams have made the playoffs at least once in the last ten years.

    • clydeserra - Nov 1, 2013 at 3:51 PM

      Are you claiming football is a “faster” sport?

      there is less time when the ball is live, and much of that is a fella barking non sense while 10 other guys squat.

  9. tecmostar - Nov 1, 2013 at 2:31 AM

    The NFL continues to move forward because of willingness to innovate and change while the MLB is historically much slower to respond. Its not a bad thing for it to not be as popular as it used to be, but firmly believing that the health of baseball is as strong as ever borders on delusional.

    • clydeserra - Nov 1, 2013 at 3:49 PM

      what innovations?

  10. lordfletcher - Nov 1, 2013 at 2:52 AM

    I didn’t watch one game this year and it felt amazing. As I went to a few and enjoyed the weather, something about baseball to me is seriously lacking.

    I love playing but have a hard time staying interested in the big leagues… doesn’t help that I am a “Twins” fan I guess. Sigh….

    Buxton / Sano please hurry

    • pauleee - Nov 1, 2013 at 9:59 AM

      “I didn’t watch one game this year…”

      And yet you’re commenting here. Coincidentally, I haven’t watched a single game of football this year, something I’m trying out and finding I’m not missing at all. Don’t look for me on the PFT tab though, I won’t be posting there.

      “doesn’t help that I am a “Twins” fan…”

      It seems you’ve misplaced those quotation marks, they should be around “fan”.

      • clydeserra - Nov 1, 2013 at 3:54 PM

        lets not forget that this site is making money* off MLB, so the secondary market must be pretty strong too.


  11. 11championships - Nov 1, 2013 at 7:25 AM

    The reason that you know the orioles don’t have a shot and that the ravens do is because unlike in football baseball usually crowns the best team. Baseball plays more games in the regular season and playoffs, and as everyone knows, In statistics the bigger the sample size the more accurate the data. That said its a lot easier for a football team to get hot a couple games and sneak into the Super Bowl.

  12. easywolf - Nov 1, 2013 at 7:30 AM

    Baseball in September makes me want to vomit, just have your crappy playoffs in August and let us watch NFL afterwards

    • dan1111 - Nov 1, 2013 at 10:29 AM

      “let us watch NFL”

      Who is stopping you? Is it the same entity that apparently forced you to come read and comment on a baseball blog against your will, even though you don’t like baseball?

    • bfunk1978 - Nov 1, 2013 at 10:58 AM

      I hear that football is on 4 days a week and has been since September. Just watch your football and quit twerking on the internet.

  13. 4thqtrsaint - Nov 1, 2013 at 9:01 AM

    This is a simple fix, but nobody gets it. In the early 20th century, when there was little else to do, baseball was THE thing. Having it go on from Spring thru Fall was great.
    But it’s the early 21st century now & our attention span has gotten shorter along with thousands of other distractions.
    To make a short story long, baseball needs to shorten the season. In the NFL, a 16 game schedule has a “sudden death” feeling nearly every week. Every game matters.
    In baseball, a game is a microcosm for their season. Its long and boring, with a few exciting moments sprinkled in.
    Drop the season to about 60 games & interest would build again.

    • clydeserra - Nov 1, 2013 at 3:55 PM

      sure interest would rise in a 60 game season.

      So would revenue.

  14. Francisco (FC) - Nov 1, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    I think Bill Baer’s post at Crashburn Alley is a great read on this topic. Baseball is doing fine from the regional point of view. Its demographics suck (apparently the average age of the viewer for the 2012 World Series was 53.4!!!!!). As Bill points out baseball broadcasting is a product made by old people FOR old people.

    The venue of e-sports proves that people CAN watch contests for long periods of time if you make the product compelling to watch. The wealth of information displayed for spectators in these online tournaments is miles beyond what baseball does. You don’t need to do this for the TV just the online experience would get the ball rolling, but also means changing MLB’s business model, right now it’s only really accessible for the more affluent, but young people, students, etc. aren’t going shell out $120 a year for a service that doesn’t cater to them with more interesting online (and free!) options to watch.

  15. chill1184 - Nov 1, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    The “baseball is dying” crowd is so annoying. We get it, you don’t like baseball, watch hockey, basketball or football and move on

  16. cliverush - Nov 1, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    The cost to get into a game in the major markets has kept the youth of America away from MLB games. Regular season games are on high priced cable (local sportschannels) which cuts out many families. Other options are the minor league teams which offer family fun and entertainment at an affordable price. It is such a big deal going to a MLB game now in cost that they are pricing themselves out of the market. This is written from a perspective of a Red Sox fan who when he was young was able to attend games with friends on any day they played for under $2.00

    • clydeserra - Nov 1, 2013 at 3:58 PM

      tell me, when you and your friends were at these $1.50 games, were you wearing onions on your belt?

  17. officialgame - Nov 2, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    Nice picture of a TV from the last century. All one needs is a broke TV below it being used as a stand for this one with some redneck watching.

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