The Tampa Bay Rays saw a huge jump in local television ratings in 2012. The 150 games broadcast on Sun Sports averaged a 4.9 rating, up 28% from 2011, when the local broadcasts averaged a 3.8 rating. A 4.9 rating translates to approximately 87,000 homes in the Tampa Bay market.

Oddly enough, the highest-rated game of the year was a Saturday night match-up against the A’s on May 5th in which Jonny Gomes hit a go-ahead home run in the 12th inning. That game had a 7.54 household rating.

A 28% jump is certainly good news for the Rays. However, the ratings are still down from 2010, when their 5.9 average rating ranked fifth amongst all Major League Baseball clubs. I haven’t seen the full rankings yet for the 2012 season, but a 4.9 rating is typically around eighth or ninth overall.

The Rays current deal pays them approximately $20 million per season and is set to expire in 2016. However, typically, new deals are negotiated a couple of years in advance of expiring. So look for the Rays to cash-in on these ratings starting in 2014 or 2015.

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16 Comments

  1. don says:

    I've said all along: THEY HAVE THE FAN BASE IN THIS AREA
    now their problem: How do they motivate them to leave their living room (and Bars) to enjoy the "live game Expierence"
    One good marketing/sales company could do that..for Less than Stuie payed Pena last year....whats stopping him...Is he really that business smart or does he Know Stock investing only???

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    • Mike M says:

      I think it would be cool to do things like include earphone jacks in the seats so you can listen to the radio broadcast. Maybe include more replays on the big screen... including on "missed calls". I hear more complaints about that than almost anything when I am at games.

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  2. ed says:

    didn't mlb just sign a billion dollar tv contract? I forgot with whom, nbc i think, how much of it do the rays get?

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  3. ed says:

    sorry didn't finish, seems to me $20 million is an awful lot of money, i hear people complaining about the bad tv deal the rays signed. If that's bad i wonder what the other teams are making. Maybe somebody can set me straight, i keep hearing that we are a small market town, but than i hear from some sports people on the radio that we are a mid market town, well which one are we?

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    • don says:

      Here's your "markets" Yankees final game to make the playoffs....
      47,000 attendance... 8mil. population
      Rays:18,000 attendance... 2mil population no playoffs hope

      Now someone tell me the difference

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      • CC says:

        NYC 8 million population
        St Pete 800,000 population

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        • don says:

          Exactly and if you included Hillbilly Co. the total is still not 2mil. so how does NY outdraw the Rays on a % basis...
          by the way the Yankee Division winning last Game was NOT sold out....if that happened in ST. Pete it would be all over local, national news, ESPN,MLB....we have the Market for baseball... now figure out how to utilize it.....hey Stuie....

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    • Mike M says:

      For example:

      "The Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels have new television-rights agreements in place that will pay each approximately $3 billion over the next 20 years. Even San Diego, which plays in baseball's 26th largest market, is expected to complete a deal with Fox Sports worth $75 million per year for the next two decades."
      -Salt Lake Tribune

      If San Diego is getting $75 million a year, I imagine we can get something somewhat close to that.

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  4. Gus says:

    Does anybody else look at those ratings and think the neilson folks may not have enough sample size to get a real accurate read. An A's game in May has the highest ratings? The 2011 team getting lower ratings than the 2012 team? Seems fishy.

    That said, the Rays are a very good TV market and the worst contract this ownership group ever signed wasn't Burrell or Luke Scott: it was the 10 year TV deal they signed in desperation for cash to run the franchise. As mediocre as the attendance has been, we all should recognize that the TV contract is what is crippling payroll now.

    The Miami Herald ran a great piece on how short the honeymoon effect for the Marlins new stadium was -- effectively 2 months. The future of baseball isn't in live attendance, but in capturing fan interest where the fans are. Your stadium is a TV studio.

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  5. David says:

    The fan base is here. It is also a market that is about 2.5 million total.... unlike half the league that draws from an area of 4 million +.

    Add that to the fact that the Rays organization have failed miserably at selling corporate seats.

    The actuakl attendance of season ticket holders and walk ups is on par with MLB (actually I believe it is HIGHER than average). If they sold just 55% of the tickets to corporate sponsors (the league average is over 60%) they would be selling 28k per game and over 30k on the weekends.... exactly what the market numbers say they should.

    Bottom line is they need a new stadium in a better location and they need better corporate sponsorship.

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  6. TOM says:

    Imo i would do the give aways when the lesser teams are in town, not for NY or BOS. I don't know if its possible with the TV revenues but I would cut back televising home games to increase attendance.

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    • Beth says:

      I definitely agree on the first point. You don't need the extra draw for those prime games, and why give a bunch of Red Sox fans Desmond Jennings bobbleheads?

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  7. Beazy says:

    It isn't lack of a fan base, it's like most say, it's better to chill @ home and watch it on the couch w/ food and family for a lot cheaper then driving far to a tent surround by water. I love the Trop, but it is what it is. Can't wait for the opening of the new Trop in Channelside...

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    • don says:

      Its a lot easier to sit at home to watch a movie (thru a 100 different sources) yet theaters set Box office $ records all the time, its easier to take the kids to the park, but go look at the lines at Busch Gardens,Its easier to sit at home to watch your favorite football team or NBA team, but Millions of fans pay big bucks to go anway..."cheaper" has nothing to do with it....
      Market your product Rays and you will be fine...

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