2014 was a bit of a disappointing year of MLB on Fox, with games on Fox Sports 1 off to a poor start for their first season on the network. But in 2015, things appear to be turning around, with average viewership rising by 26% over the first three Saturdays of the season, good for an average of 597,000 viewers per game.
Fox Sports 1’s viewership for regular season games peaked on Saturday. Indians-Tigers drew 817,000 viewers in an exclusive window, the most-watched regular season game on the network. That game was followed up by Yankees-Mets, which drew 647,000 viewers – a record for a non-exclusive game. Because that game wasn’t airing in an exclusive window, that means that the New York market wasn’t a factor in that viewership number, an encouraging sign for MLB.
Eight teams with Fox RSNs rank either first or second in their local market in primetime ratings – the Indians, Tigers, Royals, Cardinals, Padres, Diamondbacks, Reds, and Rays. As the summer rolls along, more teams will likely end up joining them at the top of their local markets as broadcast TV turns to reruns and the NHL and NBA Playoffs come to a close.
The Royals, Padres, and Diamondbacks are doing especially good locally. Following their 2014 AL pennant, the Royals are up 129% on Fox Sports Kansas City, and have set a new ratings record three times already this year, including a ridiculous 17.3 last Sunday against the White Sox (a doubleheader that was two days removed from the wild brawl in Chicago). The new-look Padres are up 67% from last season, and have set a new ratings record seven times on the young Fox Sports San Diego, topping out at a 7.2 for last Friday’s game with the Dodgers. Finally, the revamped Diamondbacks are up 36% from last season on Fox Sports Arizona and are averaging a 4.5 rating.
Is it early? Yep, of course – but after a rough 2014 for MLB on Fox nationally, any positive signs are a good thing.