Nats ratings on MASN soaring
I've mentioned before that the Nats, as expected, are experiencing sort of drab attendance this year, in the wake of the back-to-back 100-loss seasons. But if there's a one-year lag in attendance perking up with better on-field results, there's no similar impediment to TV ratings perking up.
Thus, according to Nielsen data, the Nats set and then tied their all-time mark for ratings on MASN in the past two days. This for mid-May games against the Mets. Overall, Nats ratings on MASN and MASN2 are up 43 percent over last season at this time. That's good for a 1.0 household rating in the Washington market, equal to about 20,335 households.
Now, is that still lower than the Caps and Wizards? Sure it is. But it's going in the right direction, and in a hurry, which is more important.
And the highest numbers have come as the team's respectability became clear. (And as the Caps' season ended.) Last Thursday's game against the Braves, when Scott Olsen flirted with a no-hitter, got an eminently respectable 1.8 household rating, the highest since the summer of 2007, when Barry Bonds was going for the home run record against the Nats. In the targeted demographic of men aged 25-54, that game scored a 1.7, the best-ever Nats rating on MASN for that demo.
Monday's and Tuesday's games against the Mets did even better, both drawing 2.0 overall ratings. Tuesday's game scored a 2.0 among men 25-54, breaking last week's record for the best-ever in that demo. If you care about whether this team will succeed in this market, these numbers are very, very, very promising. And put this in the first paragraph of those arguments about how as soon as this team becomes a genuine contender, fans will flock.
A few other Nats notes:
* A journalist with new D.C. news Web site TBD proposes that leading the way on Nats coverage could be as valuable to that site as being yet-another site with Redskins news. I happen to disagree, but it's an interesting premise, and this MASN news might indicate that there is indeed plenty of room for Nats growth.
* Lots of cynics have floated "regressing to the mean" jokes about the Nats' hottish start. I was, naturally, curious what we can learn from records in mid-May. Last year on this date, 12 MLB teams were at least three games above .500. Seven of them finished the season with winning records. Three of them made the playoffs.
Through 33 games, the World Champion Yankees were 16-17. The NL champion Phillies were 17-16. The Nats are currently 18-15.
* That said, The Nats Blog used Accuscore to compute the team's playoff chances at 23.8 percent. That's a lot better than last year's chances at this time, which were somewhere around -700 percent.
* Here's an animated gif of Nats fan and Bog reader Michael Palan catching a foul ball in Queens Tuesday night. Well done.
* And here, via City Desk, is Giant Racing Abe wandering around downtown D.C.
* In a truly remarkable rant, Steve Phillips predicted that Cy Young favorite Livan Hernandez will actually be released by the Nats before the end of the season. Highlights, via Federal Baseball:
"I'm willing to say right now that come August he'll be released from the Washington Nationals. I mean, you look at his history, and he's never been this good the first part of the season, but he always seems to get off to a fairly decent start, but as the season goes along, that stuff catches up to him. It's amazing. He's has more guts than any pitcher at the major league level, because to have the courage to throw that stuff over the plate, that he throws up there, and not be afraid of getting a line drive back, or that he's going to hurt a third baseman....Sooner or later it seems like stuff catches up to him and he gets crushed, and I can't believe that this year will be any different than the last three, four or five years for him and by August I don't think he's going to be a Washington National and I think he'll be released and looking for another job."
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