On Tuesday, Forbes published 2017 local ratings data for the 29 Major League Baseball teams based in the United States. Here are some of our takeaways:
Seventeen of the 29 teams saw viewership decreases this season. The largest dip came from the Miami Marlins (-30 percent), whose fans were apparently not so jazzed about Giancarlo Stanton’s home-run binge. The Rangers, Pirates, Giants, Royals, and Mariners also saw substantial drops, which makes sense given that most of those teams fell off sharply from 2016 to 2017.
The biggest jumps were similarly predictable. The Yankees were up 56 percent on YES thanks to an exciting team and a return to playoff contention. The Indians (+30 percent), Brewers (+44 percent) and Twins (+30 percent) also saw big ratings boost thanks to teams that exceeded expectations to one extent or another. The Braves tied the Yankees for the biggest increase, +56 percent, which sounds surprising based on the state of the team, but makes sense given the excitement over their new stadium.
After drawing the fifth best rating in 2016, the Indians jumped to first this year, with a 9.22 mark on SportsTime Ohio. Cleveland fans got to cheer for an incredibly fun team that last year won the AL pennant and came a run away from winning the World Series. A record-breaking 22-game winning streak in August and September surely didn’t hurt. Though the city often takes criticism for its lackluster attendance at Progressive Field, these ratings numbers indicate beyond all doubt that Tribe fans care about their team.
The rest of the top five included the Royals (8.46), the Cardinals (7.75), the Red Sox (5.98), and the Orioles (5.43).
The lowest-rated teams were the Athletics (.68), the White Sox (.88), the Angels (1.11), the Marlins (1.32), and Dodgers (1.74). The two Los Angeles teams obviously suffer in ratings from playing in such a massive market, and the Dodgers’ numbers are tamped down by the years-long Time Warner-DirecTV feud that keeps the team’s games blacked out to much of the area.
Seven of the 10 highest-rated teams saw ratings declines. Six of the 10 lowest-rated teams saw ratings increases. In other words, ratings across the league moderated a bit.
Eight of the 10 playoff teams saw ratings increases. The lone exceptions were the Red Sox (-15 percent) and Cubs (-9 percent).
Twelve of the 29 teams were the top rated primetime programs in their markets. Twenty five of the 29 were the top rated cable program in their markets.