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Nats TV ratings way up for opening day

Since there has been plenty of criticism directed at the Nats for the opening day experience, here's one bit of good news. Ratings for the season opener more than tripled from a year ago, from a 0.5 household rating in 2009 to a 1.6 in 2010. You'll recall that the season average last year was a 0.6, so again, this is a huge step up, and good news. Yay.

If you want the caveats....

* Last year's season opener was on MASN2. This year's was on MASN and WDCW. WDCA

* Last year's season opener was against a non-premium opponent, the Marlins. This year's was against a popular regional rival, the Phillies.

* The 1.6 is somewhere around the average the Caps have gotten this season on CSN and CSN+, and well off the huge ratings the Caps have gotten for their biggest games.

Also, as long as I'm here again, check out Bud Selig's full remarks from Monday when he was asked about the Phillies cheers in the crowd. Thanks to Zach Berman for the quotes.

"You know what it reminds me of?" Selig began. "This is interesting, which is why I believe in what I call inter-urban rivalries. I really do. It reminds me of the Cardinal-Cub games, the Milwaukee-Cub games, Milwaukee-Cardinal games. There are certain games that produce a lot of crowds....

"When I was standing with the President before the game, I heard all this cheering. I said to Ted Lerner, 'What are they chanting?' And he didn't know. Fortunately, he didn't know because they were chanting, 'Let's go Phillies!' But I think it's great. Great for the sport, I really do. Enormous interest, obviously, in Philadelphia, and the fact that people travel as much as they do.

"You see it all over town. Talking before about how popular the sport was...and the intensity, I've never seen intensity like this. I don't know if a third of this crowd goes for Philly. It's hard to tell. I'll let the rest of you make that judgment. Bus up, trip up from Philadelphia, it's only a testament to this game's popularity."

(Obviously you've now read Adam Kilgore's story on the invasion; if you haven't, you must. At least one Nats ticket seller proactively reached out to at least one Philly group, resulting in more than 500 tickets going up north before individual seats went on sale for Opening Day. This story isn't going away. Someone's going to have to apologize.)

And in one more Nats note, at least some season-ticket holders got an e-mail from the team asking them to provide feedback on their Nats Park experience. Problem is, as Nationals Enquirer pointed out, you weren't allowed to choose "2010" as the date of your visit. So maybe we can just pretend that the home season begins on Wednesday.

By Dan Steinberg  |  April 6, 2010; 9:22 PM ET
Categories:  Caps , Nats  
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Next: Ovechkin's empty-netter in Pittsburgh


Bud Selig can feast on John Kruk's surgically removed cancerous man bits.

Posted by: wahoo2x | April 6, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Opening Day 2010 was an epic fail!

Posted by: MrWillie | April 6, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

It was actually on Channel 50, which is WDCW.

Posted by: Cosmo06 | April 6, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Bud is not going to see anything wrong with visiting teams lining the pockets of the home team.

Insiders say the reason Milwaukee is now in the NL Central is so that they can fill the stands with Cubs fans who drive up from Chicago.

Posted by: metatext | April 6, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

/I heard all this cheering. I said to Ted Lerner, 'What are they chanting?' And he didn't know./

You've got to love this. A couple of out-of-touch old men without a clue. I'm sorry, but you could've been dead and heard the 'Let's Go Phillies' chant it was that loud and clear.

And by the way, since when do we listen or give credence to anything Bud Selig says anymore?

Posted by: enstage | April 6, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Other big factor is that this year's Opening Day game was the day after Easter, when kids are on spring break, some people home on vacation, etc. Last year's Opening Day against the Marlins was the week before Easter.

Also, probably a more minor factor--a home opener probably generally draws more interest than a road opener from casual fans. And since many casual fans were apparently shut out of tickets by group sales to Phillies fans, they were home to watch it instead of at the ballpark.

Posted by: TheFingerman | April 7, 2010 12:44 AM | Report abuse

Imagine the ratings if we had even a smidge of a chance to go to the playoffs. The Nats will be popular when they win (and after). I now believe that this will happen once the Leaners and StanK are gone. I just hope to still be on earth to see it.

Posted by: smirkman | April 7, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Dan, thank you for keeping this story alive. It would be great if you could spearhead a "Red Revolution" much the same way you helped lead the "Burgundy Revolution". Nats fans have to let the clueless Lerners and equally clueless President Stan Kasten know that undermining their own small, but faithful, fan-base is absolutely unacceptable. We can't let this story die.

Posted by: DCHorseplayer | April 7, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

This is why I'm going to Philly this weekend for the DCU-Union game at the Linc. To see the PROPER way of handling away fans.

Posted by: Juan-John1 | April 7, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Stop complaining about Philly fans. If nats are consistently good, there will be far less tickets available to out-of-towners. Winning rectifies much!

Posted by: gatsu | April 7, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

That's because all the fans that wanted to be there were stuck at home listening to Philly fans on TV.

Posted by: Mike4169 | April 7, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

But he is totally right about those other inter-urban rivalries. For instance, when the Cubs visit the Cardinals, it's just a sea of blue.

Posted by: markfromark | April 7, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

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