Nats TV ratings double in 2010
Back in May, when all was happiness and cherry blossoms and "Get Up!" shouts in NatsTown, I noted that the team's TV ratings were way up over 2009. A lot happened since then: Stephen Strasburg arrived, Rob Dibble departed, the winning percentage plummeted and football season began.
And yet, with 162 games in the books, the final numbers were even better than that mid-May snapshot. The Nats wound up doubling their ratings in the D.C. market, earning a 1.4 household rating for their broadcasts on MASN and MASN2. Last year, you'll recall, the Nats' TV audience was up 67 percent over the tragically low 2008 numbers. For a team that's lost 196 games over the past two years to have so steadily grown its television audience is, I believe, a win.
The 1.4 rating equals about 33,000 households in the D.C. market. Nats games also attracted about 5,000 households in the Baltimore market, and about 57,000 total households across the seven-state MASN footprint, an increase of about 80 percent over 2009.
And, significantly, the Nats got better rankings in the D.C. market than the Orioles did. This hasn't always been the case -- even last year, the two teams were tied in this market. The Orioles drew an average rating of 0.7 in Washington this season, the same as in 2009.
Still, the O's had a larger overall audience in MASN's viewing area, attracting an average of about 78,000 households. The Orioles' rating in the Baltimore market was a 3.3., good for about 36,000 households and a 10 percent increase over 2009.
As for the inevitable team-to-team D.C. comparison, the Caps averaged about a 1.6 rating on CSN and CSN+ in the D.C. market last year, good for 37,000 homes. The Wizards averaged about a 1.16, good for 28,000 homes. And Sunday's Redskins-Eagles game earned a 33.0 rating locally, which is a dang lot of viewers. ("REDSKINS CONTINUE TO DOMINATE TELEVISION PROGRAMMING IN D.C. DMA" read the subject line on the press release the Skins sent out on Tuesday.)
As for why the Nats ratings increased? You tell me. The HD absolutely helped. I often found myself turning in to hear what Dibble was saying. Strasburg was a must-watch, though he only started a dozen games. And, dare I say, the team was actually more compelling.
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