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MLB Delivers Big Prime Time Ratings In Local Markets

Jason Barrett

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Television ratings for baseball games on regional sports networks saw ratings increase in 2015, based on information from Nielsen for the 29 domestic clubs in Major League Baseball.

To add, 25 of the 29 rated #1 on cable while one-third of the league ranked #1 across all networks during the season in prime time, making baseball the key summer content for advertisers.

Leading the way were the Kansas City Royals with a whopping 12.98 ratings average on FOX Sports Kansas City for the season, up 82% from the 7.15 average they posted last season. It is the highest local ratings in baseball over the past 13 seasons. Ratings increase were driven by their World Series appearance last year, and following up with an outstanding 2015 regular season going 95-67. They were followed by the St. Louis Cardinals who saw a 10.86 average rating on FOX Sports Midwest up 32% from last year when they ranked 3rd in all the league. Coming in third were the Pittsburgh Pirates who finished with the 3rd best record in all of baseball. They posted a 9.15 on ROOT Sports, up 8% from the 8.49 in 2014.

The largest increase in ratings came by way of the NL Wild Card winning Chicago Cubs who saw a 3.6 ratings average, up from 1.54 last season on CSN Chicago.

On the downside, the disappointing season by the Detroit Tigers were reflective in the ratings. The club held the top ratings at the local level last season but dropped to 4th in the league posting a 6.42 rating on FOX Sports Detroit down 25% from the 8.58 rating last year.

Putting the most significant drag on substantial ratings increases for the league was the Chicago White Sox. The club from the South Side of Chicago rated last in the ratings in 2014 and did so again this season, just in more dramatic fashion. Ratings on CSN Chicago were down 28%, making them the only club to see ratings below a 1 household rating. That’s saying something considering the Dodgers pulled a 1.03 with carriage only on Time Warner and Charter in the Los Angeles area. The White Sox could only muster the 7th highest ratings on cable in the Chicago area for CSN Chicago, and 17th across all of television.

Other highlights:

    • Despite a lackluster season in the standings, the San Diego Padres saw ratings increase 24% on FOX Sports San Diego.
    • While they continue to be abysmal with their attendance, the Tampa Bay Rays ranked 11th in the ratings.
    • The New York Yankees made the playoffs after missing them for two consecutive seasons. The Bronx Bombers were competitive most of the season, and yet ratings dropped on YES Network from a 3.41 in 2014 to 3.06 in 2015.
    • The Mets stormed the NL East after the trade deadline and ran away with the Division. If fans were less impressed with the Yankees that certainly wasn’t the case for the Mets. Ratings were up a whopping 63% over last season pulling a 2.84 rating on SNY compared to a 1.74 last season.
    • While we didn’t have ratings for last season for the Houston Astros on CSN Houston, getting their TV deal sorted out on ROOT Sports has helped them as the team won the AL Wild Card. While the Astros ranked 23 in the league by U.S. clubs, they posted a 2.42 HH rating. That was ahead of the Atlanta Braves who saw a 37% drop in the ratings.

To see the ratings for each market, visit Forbes where this article was originally published

Sports TV News

Ray Didinger Thought NFL Films Was Joking When Approached About Upcoming Special

“I’ve always contended that NFL Films could make anything interesting, and they actually managed to do that with me. So that’s the ultimate proof of it.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Philadelphia media icon Ray Didinger has a career story worth telling, and that’s why NFL Films will be focusing on it for an upcoming edition of NFL Films Presents…

Didinger, who worked for more than two decades at NFL Films working his way up to the role of senior producer, told Dom Giordano on 1210 WPHT on Tuesday that he was actually surprised when producer Chris Barlow approached him with the idea.

“When NFL Films told me they wanted to do this, I thought they were joking,” Didinger said. “When (Barlow) sent me the email and said we want to do a show about you (and Tommy McDonald), I thought he was just pulling my leg.”

Didinger stated that he was fortunate to have the chance to have his story told. He’s looking forward to fans being able to check out the show, which airs at 12:30 a.m. on Friday on FS1.

“It really turned out well,” he said. “I saw the rough cut of it, and it’s really neat.”

“NFL Films, they are the state of the art in sports cinematography there’s no question about that,” he added. “I’ve always contended that NFL Films could make anything interesting, and they actually managed to do that with me. So that’s the ultimate proof of it.”

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Sports TV News

Kay Adams: Pat McAfee Has Built ‘The Dream’

“it’s interesting because he’s built himself to such a place that he does not need anyone and that is the dream.”

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Many in sports media respect what former NFL punter Pat McAfee has accomplished in his media endeavors. You can add FanDuel TV host Kay Adams to that list.

“I’m just blown away by the success and by the leverage he has,” Adams said on the My Other Passion podcast. “It is uncanny, it is aspirational, and it is self-made, so it is a beautiful thing. I — of course — watch what he does. I don’t want to be just like him but I do think he is so disruptive.

“He has such a chip on his shoulder. It drives him but I almost wish I could see it relieved a little bit. He’s thriving, he’s happy, and I think the thing that sticks out to me about him is that he’s truly grateful. Truly is grateful for everything he has, his opportunities. He’s worked his ass off for it.”

Adams pointed to McAfee’s recent spat with the NFL over use of the league’s logos as an indicator of not only his success but his influence in the sports landscape.

“He is true to himself but he mostly leads with gratitude, which I think is the epitome of success. But he’s out there show you what can be done. He’s the first, but will he be the last to have that sort of platform? That sort of swing? What he does with the NFL the other week, I’m paying attention to that.

“Because I want to see: is the NFL going to bend the knee to Pat McAfee? Does the NFL care what he says? But it’s interesting because he’s built himself to such a place that he does not need anyone and that is the dream.”

The NFL did eventually “bend the knee” and reversed course on limiting McAfee’s use of league trademarks.

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Sports TV News

John Skipper: Bob Iger’s Return Won’t Effect ESPN

“If you’re going to win the streaming wars, you’re going to have to have sports.”

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There have been many questions about what Bob Iger’s return to Disney will mean for ESPN, but former ESPN President John Skipper believes it won’t change much.

Skipper pointed to Iger’s relationships with powerbrokers in the sports world as a positive, and also believes that the “streaming wars” will be won by those who hold the rights to live sports.

“As a moat, to get the pay-TV fees and to get people to pay more money to subscribe,” Skipper pointed to Sportico as the reason for ESPN to still have an agreement with the NBA for linear TV. He later added “If you’re going to win the streaming wars, you’re going to have to have sports.”

Skipper also said the network used to invest in constant studio programming but said that’s no longer a necessity.

“We did that type of programming because the economics were different at the time,” Skipper said.

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