From 10 minutes ago on Forbes:
This article has now been updated with ratings information for all U.S. teams, minus the Dodgers and Astros who are mired in carriage disputes and adversely skew the numbers
Major League Baseball is king during prime time at the regional level thus far this season for regional sports networks (RSNs) winning the key prime time slot in the US markets that Nielsen Media Company tracks.
The data bolsters the position that baseball continues to be a solid programming choice for networks in the summer when the major networks are in reruns.
According to the information from Nielsen, of the 29 U.S.-based clubs in the league, 12 of them are the #1-rated programming in prime time since the start of the season in their home markets, beating both broadcast and cable competition. These teams include the Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee Brewers, Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Another 7 teams rank in the top three in local prime time TV ratings on their respective RSNs, including the Tampa Bay Rays, Minnesota Twins, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, and Denver Rockies.
Another 8 teams rank in the top 9 in local prime time TV ratings on their respective RSNs, outrating cable competition such as Walt Disney DIS -0.56% owned ESPN ESPN. These teams include Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels, Miami Marlins, New York Mets, Oakland A’s, and Washington Nationals.
Two teams that missed the ratings wins are both mired in carriage disputes. The Dodgers with SportsNet LA and Houston Astros with CSN Houston have yet to break the impasse with major carriers such as DirecTV, AT&T T -0.99% U-Verse, as well as others.
The data provided by the Nielsen Company was collected between March 31st when the season was starting and July 24th.
Each regional sports network televises an average of 148 MLB game per season, most in prime time (7p-11p), when the television audience is the greatest and advertisers are looking to get the best bang for their buck.
Not all the teams that own the key broadcast time slot are performing well in the standings. As of the 24th when the data for averaging ended, several markets that saw #1 ratings in prime time were languishing in the standings. The Cincinnati Reds had a 52-52 (.500) record, yet were fourth in the NL Central, 6 games out of first and 4.5 games out of the NL Wild Card race. The Arizona Diamondbacks had a 45-60 (.429) record (13.5 games out of first) and ranked dead last in the NL West and third worst in all the National League ahead of only the Colorado Rockies and Chicago Cubs. The Red Sox, while enjoying the idea that they are still World Series Champions until the playoffs hit this fall are out of the running and were in last in the AL East with a 48-57 (.457) winning record and 10.5 games out.
Leading the pack are the Detroit Tigers on FOX Sports Detroit who have seen an 8.38 average household rating with an average 156,000 households. They’re followed by the Cardinals on FOX Sports Midwest (7.56/95,000 avg households), and Pittsburgh Pirates on ROOT Sports Pittsburgh (7.56 / 89,000 avg households).
Picking up the rear end of the ratings are the Chicago White Sox, who even with networks in reruns could only pick up the 9th best program ranking in prime time. When coupled with the Chicago Cubs, CSN Chicago is taking a major hit compared to other RSNs. Along the way, the Los Angeles Angels aren’t exactly lighting up the ratings. While clubs that are lagging in the standings seeing some of the better rankings in prime time, the Angels are a bit of a mystery. They were just 2 games back of the Oakland A’s on July 27th, yet rank behind only the White Sox in poor ratings.
The numbers bode do bode well for network partners, such as FOX Sports. The question is, why do national ratings seem to lag, while regionally ratings are mostly flourishing.
“Thanks to regional sports networks, there are more Major League Baseball games available locally than ever before, and ratings reflect the intense passion fans feel for their teams,” said Kyle Sherman, Executive Vice President, Home Team Sports, the entity that represents all the FOX Sports regional sports networks. “Fans see and experience the sport through the lens of their home team, which drives interest.”
Below is data provided by Nielsen showing the market, the team and its RSN they broadcast on, the household rating and households, followed by the prime time ranking for them. Note that the Dodgers and Astros are currently not listed as they are mired in carriage disputes and therefore ratings skewed adversely