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Nats TV Audience is MLB's Biggest Gainer

Good and bad news from Monday's Sports Business Journal report on the final MLB regular-season TV ratings. (Subscription req'd.)


The Nats regional TV ratings on MASN and MASN2 increased by 67 percent, to a 0.60. Their average audience increased 75 percent to 14,000 households. Both increases were easily the biggest in the Majors.

Furthermore, ratings and audience size actually increased as the season went on. In the mid-spring, the Nats had a 0.53 rating and an audience of 12,000 households. For the numbers to go up in the midst of such a lousy season has to be a positive.


The .060 and 14,000 numbers, both remain the lowest numbers in MLB, by sort of a lot, with the exception of Oakland. (Toronto isn't included in these annual surveys.) Ten teams, for example, attracted an average audience of at least 95,000 households. The Cincinnati Reds' audience size tumbled by 22 percent, and they still had an average audience of 35,000, which remained one of the lowest in the Majors. That sort of shows how far the Nats still have to travel.

The next lowest-rated teams were the A's, who drew a 0.82, and the Angels, who drew a 1.22; those were the only other franchises below a 2.0. The next lowest audiences watched the A's (20,000), the Royals (29,000) and the Orioles (32,000).

And, to make the ultimate unfair comparison, you could add up all the households who watched 24 straight Nats games on TV, and you'd still have a smaller bunch of houses than the audience for a single Yankees game on YES.

By Dan Steinberg  |  October 12, 2009; 5:07 PM ET
Categories:  MLB , Nats  
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Who are the Nats?

Posted by: freakzilla | October 12, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

ratings booster suggestion:

A public firing of Vinny Cerrato, mid-Nats game.

Fire Cerrato.

Posted by: ThisGuy | October 12, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

LOL @ ^^^^

Posted by: sire1 | October 12, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

On the bright side: Peter the Pig in Baltimore gets the ad revenue from that .6 rating, while Washington gets its $25 million in guaranteed revenue from him for MASN.

So basically he paid to televise the games AND paid the Nats over $150,000 a game pure profit, and did it in order to reach 14,000 viewers who, by virtue of the fact that they're watching the Nats, aren't at Camden Yards buying tickets OR watching his O's broadcast.

How's that deal looking now, Peteykins?

Posted by: wahoo2x | October 12, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

the departure of too folksy Don Sutton helped, but MASN2 needs to be HD, for me to be more interested. And once the NFL & NHL start, MLB is history, as far as I'm concerned. Call it the downside of MLB giving up on DC decasdes ago....

Posted by: Max231 | October 12, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Two words can explain the Nats higher TV ratings this season:

Rob Dibble.

Nothing else changed this season. Except the team was a little worse.

Posted by: JoeBagadonuts | October 12, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

No subscription required to read it here:

Posted by: Tony-Tony-Tony | October 12, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Baby steps

I think there are a few reasons for the slight uptick. Dibble, Dunn, Zimm's streak and productivity, people are getting more accustomed to what MASN is and where it's located, oh and the Strasburg signing.

Baby steps

Posted by: Kev29 | October 12, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Rob Dibble was worth tuning in for - Strasburg outings should at least double the numbers.

Posted by: mjwies11 | October 12, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

My Nats viewing picked up significantly this year due entirely to Rob Dibble. And being unmployed for part of the summer I guess.

I don't think any of those reasons you listed Kev really drove ratings, except possibly the greater awareness of MASN.

Posted by: ZachMorris | October 12, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

I haven't watched MASN since the final day of the regular baseball season and I probably won't click over there until Spring Training starts; if you're not a Baltimore sports fan there's nothing in its fall/winter programming that's at all interesting.

It sure looks like Angelos runs a TV network as well as he runs a ballclub. Instead of marketing or programming toward D.C. and northern Virginia and possibly building up the numbers to a level that might make his payments to the Nationals a fair deal for him and less of a steal for the Nats, they'll have to start again from scratch in March.

Posted by: greggwiggins | October 13, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Count me in the Dibble fan club. I tuned in just to hear him get silly.

My Highlight from the season (TV Viewing Not games attended) was during the Yankees series when they were talking about taking the subway from the stadium to their hotel. Dibble started making a reference to "The Warriors" and did a great a couple of great quote impressions. Granted there are only 2 great quotes from that movie.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 13, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Everyone forgets about HD. Nats actually had half their games there. Had to have helped.

Posted by: Rhino20 | October 13, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

if you're not a Baltimore sports fan there's nothing in its fall/winter programming that's at all interesting.

Posted by: greggwiggins | October 13, 2009 8:46 AM

If you're a huge college basketball fan (or A-11 poll voter), MASN comes in handy over the Winter. Otherwise I agree completely - MASN is a Baltimore joke.

Posted by: Kev29 | October 13, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I became a Nats fan int he middle of the season. I knew they were bad, but I have a history of rooting for the underdog. Or the loser. Whichever you prefer. Then I developed a huge crush on Nyjer Morgan. That certainly helped.

Posted by: KyminDC | October 13, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Add me to the folks who like the addition of Dibble to the broadcast. I watch every game I can because it is baseball and I like seeing the young stars develop. Players like Desmond and Maxwell. Add in Morgan to the already established stars like Zim and Dunn and it is team worth watching because they are getting better.

Posted by: chopin224 | October 13, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I guess I have to change my name to "1 of 14000" now!

Posted by: 1of9000 | October 13, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

It looks like this is unconfirmed about the O's in DC, but wouldn't be surprising if true.

Orioles Beat Nationals In DC TV Market - 10/13 - TV ratings for the Baltimore Orioles pretty much held steady during the past season, when compared with 2008. A slight uptick in households watching, but a slight decline in overall ratings. The Washington Nationals were the biggest gainer, posting a 67 percent increase from last year, even though the team had the worst record in baseball. Still, the Nationals attracted only about 14,000 households per game, dead last among MLB teams, while the Orioles averaged 34,000. In fact, we're told that the Orioles attracted 16,000 households from the DC market, 14 percent better than the Nationals did in their home market. Both teams are carried by the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network.

Posted by: dugly2ugly | October 13, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Its a shame they can't (don't) include out of market watchers, of which I am. I watched approx. 90 to 95% of Nats games from down here in lil ol South Carolina via the extra innings package.

Posted by: cokedispatch | October 13, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

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