Baseball Ratings Are Down Across The Board, Lack Of Sox-Yanks Games Apparently To Blame

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


If you ask any Baseball fan how many times the Red Sox or Yankees games they have seen on weekends during this season on various networks, I guarantee that number is at least in double digits. Well according to FOX and Sports Business Journal that number isn't enough as ratings are down on every channel, especially TBS. Via Biz of Baseball....

So far this season, Fox’s ratings are down 16 percent, from a 2.5 to a 2.1, and ESPN’s ratings are down 13 percent, from a coverage area rating of 1.6 to a 1.4. And Turner, which is in the first year of its national Sunday afternoon package, has seen anemic numbers, with a coverage area rating of 0.5 that’s 30 percent off of last year’s slate of Braves games, which posted a 0.7 year to date.

Network executives say the lack of Yankees-Red Sox games so far this year have depressed the numbers.

“It comes down to scheduling quirks,” said Bill Wanger, Fox Sports’ senior vice president of research and programming.
That's actually pretty depressing to read only because it will mean more Yanks and Sawx games next year. You can't argue with ratings though and if people aren't watching then there's obviously not much a network can do. Also, TBS' numbers have to be extremely disappointing to a network who's worked pretty hard to get the word out about Baseball coverage. Hopefully they turn it around in time for the Playoffs.

MLB TV Ratings Down. Networks Look Past All-Star Game

30 Comments:

The problem with the TBS games is that they are on at the same time every other team is playing so most baseball fans will watch their local team rather than a national broadcast. If they were like ESPN and had it at night it would probably be much better.

Ted said...
Jul 9, 2008, 3:52:00 PM  

HA! Suck on that, fans of small market loser teams! No one wants to watch you.

GMoney said...
Jul 9, 2008, 4:05:00 PM  

TBS could improve its ratings by being at night even if they did have to compete with local teams' games. For example, they could have a game on Tuesday or Friday to complement ESPN's Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday packages, similar to the NBA relationship between ESPN and TNT. Right now it seems like a second-class game that wasn't good enough to get on the Joe Morgan Show. TBS is showing the Division Series and one LCS yet their regular season package is clearly inferior to ESPN's.

Fox could improve their standing without resorting to the Sawx and the Yankees by showing more games in their time slot, but that would be a substantial financial commitment. I still harbor fantasies of an NFL-style Saturday...

Morgan Wick said...
Jul 9, 2008, 4:13:00 PM  

Ted is correct on the main problem with TBS games. There's nothing to attract me to a random Reds-Marlins Sunday afternoon game when the Rangers are playing at the same time.

James said...
Jul 9, 2008, 4:25:00 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jul 9, 2008, 4:50:00 PM  

I blame Dane Cook. I also blame David Stern. Seeing how the NBA is descending into obscurity for middle-America, he's doing a smart thing and using the media, and stories such as this, to make Baseball appear anachronistic.

Anonymous said...
Jul 9, 2008, 4:54:00 PM  

I still harbor fantasies of an NFL-style Saturday...

@morgan wick:
Could you care to elaborate? I just hope your idea's not similar to the ill-fated 'Baseball Network' of 1994 & 1995.

Jul 9, 2008, 4:58:00 PM  

So, basically, they're going to punish small market teams by forcing Yanks/Sox on them while punishing Yanks/Sox fans by making them watch their teams on Fox.

Thank god for the radio.

Robert said...
Jul 9, 2008, 5:03:00 PM  

If I remember correct the TBS game has had weather issues on more than one occassion this year. I wish I knew exact dates, but one was completely rained out and another delayed. Not sure if these factor in the ratings or not.

Anonymous said...
Jul 9, 2008, 5:03:00 PM  

Even if TBS had their game on Tuesday or Friday nights, they would still have the same current problem of fans watching their local team instead of TBS.

People would watch their local team on Saturdays instead of FOX if not for the exclusivity.

Anonymous said...
Jul 9, 2008, 5:07:00 PM  

I think TBS´ ratings will improve post All-Star break when teams drop out of the race and those fans still want to watch baseball on Sundays. And I like their hire of Dennis Eckersley. Everyone´s talking Harold Reynolds, but The Eck is so unpredictable that it´s going to be great tv in Postseason.

Anonymous said...
Jul 9, 2008, 5:16:00 PM  

A LACK of Sawx-Yanks games???? Maybe they need to consider the OVERABUNDANCE of nationally televised Sawx-Yanks games.

jfein said...
Jul 9, 2008, 6:32:00 PM  

If anything, the overabundance of yankees/sox games are what are keeping viewers away.

What team would I rather watch? The sox/yankees, old teams I've seen 100 times before, or the Rays, or Marlins, or Phils, teams with tons of young talent that are exciting to watch?

Seems like a no-brainer. People outside of new england and new york are sick and tired of sox/yanks 24/7, and the ratings prove it.

Anonymous said...
Jul 9, 2008, 7:02:00 PM  

Not only are people outside of New England sick of Yanks/Sox but I'm a Sox fan and I'm sick of those games. They play 19 times a year and it feels like they play every other week. It was much better when these games weren't as numerous because there was a special feel to them.

It certainly doesn't help that a lot of them are on Fox/ESPN. I struggle to watch those broadcasts because of the awful commentators.

Jared said...
Jul 9, 2008, 7:57:00 PM  

jfein beat me to it - it's not because they don't have enough Yanks-Sox games, it's because they have too damn many of them!

SpartanDan said...
Jul 9, 2008, 8:31:00 PM  

The problem is scarcity--there's only ONE October.

Anonymous said...
Jul 9, 2008, 9:22:00 PM  

A lack of Yankees and Red Sox? Then how come both teams are on nearly every television slot so far? More like the interest in televised baseball is starting to go down and has been for over a decade.

Anonymous said...
Jul 9, 2008, 10:15:00 PM  

We'rew being force-fed the Yank$-Sawx by the networks because A) it brings in revenue(or so we're told), and B) the networks think everyone likes them.
As the late George Carlin so eloquently put it, "Fuck them. I'm tired of being told who I should and shouldn't like."

Bruce said...
Jul 9, 2008, 10:23:00 PM  

They need to ditch the non-playoff games on network TV. The FOX contract (and all those before it) forces the blackout of any other game that starts before 6:30 pm Eastern.

As a DC fan of the Cubs, who for those of you who don't know this -- they play a lot of day games -- I get screwed out of important games down the stretch.

In 2003, the Cubs were playing a Saturday double header against the Astros. The season ended on Sunday and they needed to win two of their last three games to hold the division. But, the first game started at 2 eastern and the second the 6 eastern, so Cubs fans outside of Chicago were SOL.

We also were on the short end of the stick for one of Maddux's attempts to win his 300th.

We live in the 21st Century where everyone is accustomed to seeing their team play practically every game. I know it doesn't seem like much, but one game a week can fall on pretty bad times.

Bayma said...
Jul 9, 2008, 10:36:00 PM  

The only way I am going to watch a game on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon in the summer is if it involves the Tigers. The weekend day games are the ones I miss the most while I watch nearly every weekday night game.

I certainly am not going to watch teams I don't care about when I could golf, or bike, or head to the lake.

I will watch some night games on ESPN. I haven't watched any TBS and have only watched Fox when the Tigers were on. TBS not having exclusivity also means many less local viewers.

Anonymous said...
Jul 9, 2008, 10:56:00 PM  

"Seems like a no-brainer. People outside of new england and new york are sick and tired of sox/yanks 24/7, and the ratings prove it."

That would make sense except fans of New York and New England make up a huuuuge portion of the MLB fanbase. Overabundance of these games is not the problem, and ratings from the playoffs prove that more people watch the games that these two teams are involved in.

Anonymous said...
Jul 10, 2008, 8:39:00 AM  

Um, isn't it possible that ratings are down because viewers are sick and tired of only seeing Yankee and Red Sox games? Network execs are truly stupid people.

Marty McKee said...
Jul 10, 2008, 10:58:00 AM  

Ridiculous postulation, I know... but perhaps there are less people able to tolerate FOX & ESPN'S broadcasts?
Furthermore, if you look at the Red Sox schedule, a full 6 out of 8 games starting from June 6th are Saturday Fox games... and at least one Sunday night ESPN game. These are games I listen to on the radio for the most part, because I am just not able to take the overbearing Fox broacasts nor the Miller/Morgan team on ESPN.
The networks jsut assume it's because their previous "money-makers" weren't happening, so therefore THAT'S the reason.
And I am FULLY in agreement that there are TOO many Sox/Yankees game televised nationally.
People ar ejust tired of being force-fed" this rivalry (real or imagined) by the networks.

The whole statement is a prime example of network arrogance, IMHO.

Kyng said...
Jul 10, 2008, 11:14:00 AM  

And then this from Sports Media Watch that backs the networks' assertions.

/vomits into trash basket

Jul 10, 2008, 12:09:00 PM  

Those who remember the glory days of ESPN (that is, pre-bankruptcy-of-mind-and-money) remember that they had the ability to show 5-6 baseball games each the week, and 5+ games on holidays, and THEY DIDN'T ALWAYS SHOW YANKS-SOX-METS EVERY DAMN NIGHT!

Now ESPN (and TBS AND FOX) won't do anything BUT subject us to those three tiresome teams, and the (stoopid) TV suits say the ratings are bad due to a LACK of Sox-Yanks?? They're all in the Blue State Baseball Network for God's sake, with a little Cubs thrown in to make it complete.

If ESPN wasn't so good at College Football and B'ball and mediocre at NASCAR (I don't ask for much!), I'd go back to my rooftop antenna (until 2/09 that is).

bowlalpo said...
Jul 10, 2008, 12:38:00 PM  

The problem with Fox's coverage is that it is on in the middle of the afternoon. At 3:30 or 4 on Saturday, people are already out of the house and doing things, rather than sitting inside and watching baseball. It needs to be moved to a better time slot so people will naturally think to stop and watch baseball at that time. Perhaps after the This Week In Baseball at noon and start the game at 1 PM.

Plus they could get an announcer that actually likes calling the games and an analyst that isn't unbearable. Mark Grace would be my choice for analyst.

Taylor said...
Jul 10, 2008, 12:50:00 PM  

maybe its because everyone is off the roids and homerun totals are plummeting

Mike Georger said...
Jul 10, 2008, 1:30:00 PM  

The Mets have been around .500 all year yet Fox will have them on 7 times -- yes, 7 -- before the All-Star break. Tampa Bay has the best record in the majors yet won't be on Fox until late August (and against the White Sox).

Want to improve the ratings? Don't show NY/LA/Chi/Bos-vs-anyone.

chuckyinjersey said...
Jul 10, 2008, 3:20:00 PM  

Perhaps people are getting sick and tired of these spoiled athletes getting 12 million per year for being mediocre or seeing guys be insulted like at the idea of 72 million for 4 years. Fox and ESPN both gave MLB a ton of money for the next few years and they are obligated to pay it. They are going to have some lame excuse. They love to tell you how all is well and good in MLB....even during the roid years. They insisted Bonds was innocent only last year Grace and Kennedy were both adamant. Money ahead of truth.

Anonymous said...
Jul 12, 2008, 4:03:00 PM  

the reason why no one watches TBS is because the braves arent on there...everyone watched the braves

Anonymous said...
Jul 28, 2008, 9:18:00 PM  

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