I’ll confess that I am not a fan of the Little League World Series. I know, I know… that makes me an evil monster. I accepted that fact a long time ago, though. The thought of watching 13 year olds do something instead of much older, much better professionals has never really appealed to me. Nobody would ever think about watching Pop Warner football instead of the NFL or going down to your local park to watch a youth soccer league instead of the EPL or MLS.
However, it looks like I’m in the minority.
Little League ratings on ESPN and ABC have grown this year, in larger part thanks to the story of Mo’ne Davis. But it’s not just her story that is drawing in viewers. ABC saw increases of 40% and 20% respectively for their nationally televised games this weekend.
And the local numbers are astounding as well, especially in Chicago. The Jackie Robinson West team has captured the second city’s attention. Their first LLWS game drew a 2.4 rating, much higher than the 1.5 average rating for the Cubs and 1.4 average rating for the White Sox.
On Monday, that gap between the Little League and the Big Leagues grew even further.
Jackie Robinson West’s 8-7 victory in the LLWS Monday night scored a 3.5 local rating according to our Ed Sherman at the Sherman Report. That beat not only Browns-Redskins and Johnny Manziel on Monday Night Football (3.0 rating), but it demolished the White Sox in the same timeslot. The southsiders drew a paltry 1.0 local rating in comparison on CSN Chicago against the Orioles.
Think about that for a second.
A Little League game more than tripled the MLB audience in Chicago.
Didn’t just narrowly beat, didn’t just double, but more than tripled the ratings.
As Hawk Harrelson would say, have mercy.
There’s a novelty aspect to the Little League World Series versus the everyday grind that is the MLB regular season. The White Sox are well out of playoff contention and currently sit 8 games below .500. But still, these are some stunning numbers when you consider the discrepancy. Maybe the new MLB commissioner should look to Little League to find a way to help his own league’s ratings issues.