Although attendance at Chicago Cubs games was surprisingly up (slightly) this year, that didn’t translate to the airwaves, where Danny Ecker reports that ratings for Cubs games on CSN were down about 6% from last year. Interestingly, ratings for White Sox games were up 4% on the year, despite an identical 73-89 record (though White Sox ratings are still quite a bit lower than Cubs ratings).
I wonder if the Cubs’ early struggles doomed them in the ratings game, because we did frequently hear of ratings bumps near the end of the season, as the Cubs’ roster and performance became more and more interesting.
Hopefully future TV partners were focused on the “what could be” side of the ratings equation than the “what actually was,” given that the Cubs are currently trying to figure out their broadcast rights situation for the near-term (half of their games from 2015 through 2019) and the long-term (all of their games after 2019). The latest on that front had the Cubs – even at this late hour – trying to determine what is the best approach for the next five years.
Given the importance of the TV deal, I will continue to follow the story closely. I expect we’ll have something to deconstruct soon.