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Strasburg debut smashes MASN ratings record

The numbers Stephen Strasburg recorded on the field Tuesday night were amazing. The numbers he recorded on TV were equally so.

Sports Business Journal is reporting that the broadcast on MASN2 -- which isn't on a lot of people's favorites list -- earned a 6.81 rating in the D.C. market. MASN's release says the Nielsen preliminary overnight number was a 7.1 household rating. That's amazing on its own -- more than three times higher than the previous best-rated Nats broadcast in franchise history, and almost 700 percent over the season-to-date average -- but it's even more amazing in a larger D.C. sports context.

I'll just turn to the Capitals, because I have a lot of data handy. The Caps have been incredibly successful in recent years, with the TV audience to match. Six of the team's highest-rated Comcast SportsNet broadcasts happened just this season, and just since January, when the team zoomed to the best record in the entire NHL.

And only one Caps game in CSN history was better rated than Strasmas. Only one. Game 7 against the Canadiens this year. That game earned an 8.1. And the previous best was a 5.8. That means Strasmas smashed scores of Caps playoffs games in the ratings, smashed meetings with the Penguins and win-or-go-home April survival games.

And this for a regular-season game against the Pirates, two sub-.500 teams playing ball in June. Absurd. Ridiculous. Resurdigasagous. Whatever you want to call it.

(Since someone asked, the MASN broadcast of the O's-Yankees game earned a 0.89 rating in D.C., according to Sports Business Journal.)

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 9, 2010; 10:56 AM ET
Categories:  Caps , Media , Nats  
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Comments

something also to think about when comparing to the Caps game is that 20,000 more people where at the game than the caps game. So that is 20000 less people to watch on tv.

Posted by: carcats89 | June 9, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

How did that compare to O's/Yanks that Angelos insisted on showing on MASN, which many people (not me, thank god) *don't* get in HD?

Posted by: VTDuffman | June 9, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

The bigger question...how did Nats/Bucs compare to Os/NYY in the Baltimore DMA since MASN decided to give the team that owns the network the better channel?

Posted by: mhillson | June 9, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Down here in North Carolina, we are apparently in the "local" DC market, so the national coverage on MLB network was blacked out due to the game being on MASN. Only thing is, Time Warner cable (the only cable company we can get here) won't carry MASN. I was so excited yesterday and planned my evening around this debut, only to get robbed. Apparently, it was as awesome as expected, and I missed it. I am so bummed. I just want the world to know that Time Warner is a horrible, horrible service provider.

Posted by: DurhamBully | June 9, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm absolutely pumped that DC is embracing baseball, but I'm actually disappointed that this number is as small as it is. Consider the fact the Red Sox got a higher rating (7.1) for their opening day pre-Game show on NESN than MASN2 got last night (NESN's rating for the actual game was 19.7).

DC still has a looong way to go, but at least we're going in the right direction.

Posted by: OrelMiraculous | June 9, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

What ratings does an average Skins game draw? And a preseason Skins game?

Posted by: FearoftheDark | June 9, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the other poster. That rating seems kind of low given the incredible hype for the Strasburg debut over the past month.

Posted by: poguesmahone | June 9, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

6.8 is a monster number for local cable. Some of you guys are nuts.

Posted by: Kev29 | June 9, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"How did that compare to O's/Yanks that Angelos insisted on showing on MASN, which many people (not me, thank god) *don't* get in HD?"

Yes I wish there would be more media scrutiny on why the Nats game wasn't promoted to MASN1.

In fact, for Northern Va markets, why not simply show all Nats game on the MASN1 channel, and Orioles games on the MASN2 channel, regardless of which MASN network they are assigned too. Obviously in Southern Maryland, swapping the Nats and O's on the different networks would be wise, but Northern Va is so far from Baltimore. They are clearly Nats-only territory.

Posted by: niceshoes1 | June 9, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I found MASN2 in the 800s a couple weeks ago. I'm happy I found it. The O's are unwatchable these days.

Posted by: Dellis2010 | June 9, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I live in Ashland, Virginia. South down I-95 for about hour. Directv blacked out MLB and the MLB alternative station, MASN 2, the Pittsburgh station carrying the game, MLB channels 727 and 728 -- way to get baseball fans, isn't it???? Finally, 728 and 641 (MASN 2) carried the end of the game.

It's hard to get ratings when so many channels were blacked out.

Posted by: ngarrett21 | June 9, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I live in Ashland, Virginia. South down I-95 for about hour. Directv blacked out MLB and the MLB alternative station, MASN 2, the Pittsburgh station carrying the game, MLB channels 727 and 728 -- way to get baseball fans, isn't it???? Finally, 728 and 641 (MASN 2) carried the end of the game.

It's hard to get ratings when so many channels were blacked out.

Posted by: ngarrett21 | June 9, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the blackout issue affecting things.

My DirecTV lineup had it in standard on 728 right from the first pitch, whereas MLB was blacked out. 641-1 which is supposedely MASN2 in HD had the exact same feed in the first inning, but I switched back to it after the 3rd to find that it had blossomed into HD.

This Angelos deal is a killer -- my bet is that DirecTV doesn't know what the rules are, or perhaps can't know.

Oh that the Nats could be broadcast over the air on Channel 20 or something similar.

BTW WaPo you know what would be nice? If you could upgrade the On The Air sidebar item to list the specific channel numbers MASN2 will be broadcasting upon in the major cable/satellite lineups -- DirecTV, Comcast, etc.

Having to dig around on my channel guide like that interfered with my enjoyment of the game. Then again, at least I could see it.

Posted by: Georgetwoner | June 9, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I am in Fairfax with Verizon but did not find the game with deep regret. The regular MASN channel had Os Yanks and the other said it was to be Nats Pirates but it was the Mets! Listened on the radio though, hanging on every pitch like the old days. Would have been nice to see it on TV though!

Posted by: dcn8f | June 9, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

it doesn't matter. Strasburg will be pitching for Boston or New York in a few years, so all of this blackout nonsense will be worthless. ESPN will show most of his games.

Posted by: Randy_Hawkins | June 9, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Not totally fair to compare the ratings of Strasmas with Caps games. Caps playoff games are a big deal in the D.C. area, but not a national event with an ESPN countdown clock like last night's game. It transcended D.C., which means it would catch the eye of many more people who live int the area but don't pay attention to D.C. sports teams

Posted by: TheFingerman | June 9, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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