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Nats TV Audience Declines

Since the news broke that the Nats were averaging about 9,000 D.C.-area households for their MASN broadcasts, some clever diehards have started referring to themselves as "1 of the 9,000," and variations thereof. Well, they might need to start revising that number downward.

In an item yesterday, Sports Business Journal's John Ourand reported that the average audience now sits at 8,000 households, a drop of 11 percent since this story first started percolating. And when the Nats go up against other prominent sporting events, that D.C.-market audience actually plummets. No, seriously.

Like, Braves-Nats on MASN last Thursday? A 0.26 rating and 6,000 households. That's compared to a 26 rating and 600,000 households for NBC's coverage of Skins-Giants in the D.C. market. Yeah, I know, dead horse etc., but that's just astounding. Every single person who lives in the city of Washington could go buy a house, become a household and flip on the Nats game, and they still wouldn't equal that Redskins rating in this market.

For another comparison: the entire country of Iceland only has 100,000 television households, and yet the Icelandic handball team attracted 10 times the number of households for an Olympic preliminary-round game against Denmark. More Nats news from SBJ:

The Nationals' lowest rating of the season occurred a few weeks earlier, when its August 16 game with the Rockies ran opposite Michael Phelps' race for his eighth gold medal. The Nationals game on WDCA-MYT pulled a 0.07 rating/1,600 HHs, and a source said that the last half hour of the game was below measurable ratings standards. By comparison, NBC's coverage of the Phelps race scored a 20.7 rating with 477,000 HHs in the market.

So that Nats-Rockies game attracted a TV audience of somewhat less than the attendance at last week's Maryland-Hartford men's soccer game. More people went to Ludwig Field for an early-season non-conference soccer game than turned on the television to watch the local Major League Baseball outfit. I believe that's all covered in one of the addendums to The Plan.

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 10, 2008; 11:21 AM ET
Categories:  Media , Nats  
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Comments

"Braves-Nats on MASN last Thursday? A 0.26 rating and 6,000 households. That's compared to a 26 rating and 600,000 households for NBC's coverage of Skins-Giants in the D.C. market."

Let's see. Two crapbag baseball teams facing off in a meaningless September game on a cable station versus the first game of the NFL season featuring the hometown team and the defending Super Bowl Champion on NBC.

Imagine my shock.

Posted by: Baron Logic Von Logic | September 10, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

"The last half hour of the game was below measurable ratings standards."
That's perfectly explainable. Boswell was in China and couldn't watch the game, meaning that the Nats lost half of their TV fan base for two weeks.

Posted by: UMD's Burning Couch | September 10, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

The Nats TV vs. live college soccer survey is meaningless since it is comparing households vs. individuals.

Posted by: Everett W. | September 10, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Dead horse. Dead issue. The team is not leaving!!! Deal with it. How are the ratings calculated anyway? You can't have 30000 at the game and 6000 watching on tv. If this low rating things is a way to give the TV rights back to the Nats? I'm all for it. Other than that, I don't care!!

Posted by: DT | September 10, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

The public demands more gymnastics stories!!!

Posted by: Chris | September 10, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

The United have attendence numbers that are almost exactly the same as the Nats TV numbers. Very strange.

Posted by: PB | September 10, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Might it have something to do with that arragngement with the Orioles (MASN)? One night on MASN, another night on MASN2? So few games are in HD and - darn it, the broadcast team's constant "harping" on Ryan Zimmerman? Dukes and Milledge hardly get any positive commentary. Even when they've had exemplory games. And their shameless treatment of our "only star-quality player", Guzman - makes me wanna wretch.

I hope its good riddance to both Carpenter and Sutton...or at least Carpenter. Add Ray Knight to the booth for some REAL baseball insight - PLEASE!

Posted by: Derek_NATS_STH | September 10, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Derek. My contract for 2009 was already picked up.

See
You
Later

Posted by: NR Bob Carpenter | September 10, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Anyone but Ray Knight. PLEASE anyone but him.

Posted by: Ray Knight is a Dullard | September 10, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

This sort of thing is always worded as if there's a problem with fan support.

The numbers are definitely newsworthy... not as an index of fan interest, but as an index of what a rotten job ownership has done. This is on them. The owners want this to be a "rebuilding" process, where we tolerate crappy baseball while they get rich. And part of that process is us not giving a crap about their crappy team. Field a roster worthy of big league baseball, and watch the fans turn out.

Look at the Caps. Case study in fan "apathy." Yeah, right. As soon as they stopped fielding an AHL-caliber product, the fans came right back.

Very simple. If the Lerner group dedicates itself to winning baseball instead of lining their pockets, fans will return. But if they don't care about their team, neither will we.

Posted by: why is this always our fault | September 10, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Too bad, they've been fun to watch lately.

Posted by: prophet | September 10, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

"This sort of thing is always worded as if there's a problem with fan support."

You word that as if there isn't a problem with fan support.

Posted by: Kev | September 10, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

VAMOS UNITED!!

Posted by: LERNER | September 10, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Let's see Redskins season opener, Republican Convention, two baseball teams that aren't contending this season ... of course the numbers are going to be low.

What a waste of a post Bogger.

Posted by: Dagger | September 10, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

What about all the people like me who miss most of the games but click through the MLB Gameday archive to stay up to speed on this team? That's probably not measured and would make a HUGE difference!!! ;)

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | September 10, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

To: why is this always our fault

A decent argument, however it doesn't explain the Redskins popularity during their "dark ages" (the Snyder years). Oh wait...football is 16 games a year, and baseball is 162!!!

Nevertheless - I like the Nats building process and I'm willing to be patient, but for real - in 2009, they have to be competitive. And for God's sake - broadcast on a SET channel, in HD, with a decent broadcast team. (Sorry, Uncle Ray - I tried!).

Posted by: Derek_NATS_STH | September 10, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Who are the Nats? What sport do they play?

Posted by: Big DC Sports Fan | September 10, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Let's see Redskins season opener, Republican Convention, two baseball teams that aren't contending this season ... of course the numbers are going to be low.

What a waste of a post Bogger.

Posted by: Dagger | September 10, 2008 12:56 PM

The point in all this is not to claim that a bad team gets poor viewing figures, of course they do. It's how drastic those figures are. It's not as if the Nats are the least watched team in the league by a couple thousand viewers. They're the least watched by about 20,000 viewers.

Posted by: Kev | September 10, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

"The point in all this is not to claim that a bad team gets poor viewing figures, of course they do. It's how drastic those figures are. It's not as if the Nats are the least watched team in the league by a couple thousand viewers."

Which causes me to question the figures and how they are gathered. How can the Marlins draw 600 to a game and have a significantly higher TV number? Something does not numbers are computed.

Posted by: MathMan | September 10, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

This is what I've seen in the past 40 years: every time a radio or TV station has a bad rating book, they blame the rating services.

This is the second straight year the Nats have had low, low TV ratings. It's not MASN, it's not the methodology, and it's not the position of the stars in the sky.

Some of you need to stop the foam fingered fan excuses. And move on.

Posted by: Lozilla | September 10, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Told you so.

Posted by: Peter G Angelos | September 10, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the 25 million clams a year in TV money then Peter. Good deal!

Posted by: The Lerners | September 10, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

You can't honestly believe that the Nats' TV deal is good for you, Ted. You can have your little $25 million. I own the RSN. I own your TV rights. And I'm laughing all the way to the bank.
PS...on a separate note, congratulations to the Bog. You have two MLB owners commenting on one of your stories, not to mention Dagger, MathMan and Ray Knight is a dullard. It's good to see you have such high-powered readers.

Posted by: Peter G Angelos | September 10, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

what were the ratings for the other local channels during the Skins game and Phelps' race? Were they considerably less than normal for that channel? Why fixate on the Nats drop in ratings?

Also, I haven't checked yet, but does the WaPo site list MASN or MASN2 on their TV listings yet? Earlier this summer they didn't ...

Posted by: research this please | September 10, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Oh when will baseball ever realize that strikes and steroids lead to this - oh and that the NFL is a better product for the current reading level of the average American.

Posted by: Virginia Blue Blood | September 10, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

It should also be noted that 3000 fans came out to Maryland for off-conference soccer in the rain, as a hurricane was rolling into the area.

Have you ever done a bog report on our beloved soccer team? I'm sure there are some charecters. For example: check out AJ's hair this year, quite zany. (I'm being serious by the way.)

Posted by: MN | September 10, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

As a Nats and O's fan and a fan of all the rest of DC sports, I watched the Nats and Redskins games on TV. I'm not worried about our fanbase, we're still growing and have been coming out to the games regardless.

It'd be nice if we had our own tv rights (or a move to Comcast SportsNet would be nice) and our owners spent more money on the team to make it more competitive.

But I'm going to continue to watch the Nationals night in and night out.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I give up. Something's wrong here, even more than the bewildering MASN/MASN2 juggling and the lackluster quality of the broadcasts.

Posted by: Lindemann | September 10, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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