Last week we took a look at the final attendance figures for the Rays and how they showed only a 4% increase over 2008 despite hope for a big World Series bump at the gate.
One of the excuses for the poor showing at the ticket office is the economy and that any increase was impressive with ticket sales down for many teams. Well, if that is the case, certainly the people not going to the games were watching at home.
Not so much. The Biz of Baseball shows that TV ratings were down for baseball and breaks down the ratings for each ball club. And while attendance was up for the Rays, their TV audience was down.
Fox Sports Florida ended up with a 3.13 rating which is down 9.8% from last year. The 57,00 households is down 8.1%. The ratings were a little better for SUN Sports (3.54 and 65,000 households). This was the first year Rays games were broadcast on SUN, so no comparable data from 2008 was available.
If we average the Households for each network (61,000), the Rays ranked 20th in Major League Baseball, which is better than their 23rd place showing in attendance. Of course the 10 below the Rays are a who’s who of craptastic baseball (OAK, MIL, CLE, FL, WAS, BAL, SD, PIT, CIN, KC).
What does this mean for the Rays? Certainly last year’s numbers were boosted by the September pennant race. But to see an actual decrease in ratings must be disappointing for the Rays who had to be hoping that the TV audience would continue to grow. We are not sure how much revenue the Rays bring in from their TV deals, but these numbers will certainly cost the Rays money next time they negotiate and brings into question whether a Rays (Sunburst?) TV Network could ever be a viable option.
MLB Sees National TV Ratings Down for 2009 Regular Season [The Biz of Baseball]