The Cubs have one of baseball’s best records since the All-Star break and people are paying attention.
Specifically, television viewers and radio listeners who are tuning in and creating a ratings surge.
In a recent Chicago Tribune column, Ed Sherman reports that the number of eyes and ears on Cubs baseball has been up across the board at WGN-TV and Comcast Sports Net, ABC-7 and WBBM-AM — which is in its first (and possibly only?) season as the team’s flagship.
John Idler, the president and general manager of ABC-7 — which is in the first year of a five-year deal with the Cubs — told Sherman the 2015 ratings have exceeded his expectations so far. Sherman also reported WBBM has seen an increase between 30 and 50 percent compared to what it was drawing when the season started. WGN saw ratings peak with a 7.3 rating in the Cubs’ August 12 win against the Brewers.
If the Cubs are on and competitive, fans are proving they are willing to flock to wherever they are playing — whether it be on one of three television networks or radio.
Sherman remarks: “The Cubs turnaround has confirmed what everyone thought: They were a sleeping giant on the ratings front.”
In Sept. 2014, Danny Ecker of ChicagoBusiness.com reported that viewership dropped to a 1.5 rating — or an average of less than 49,000 area households on Comcast Sports Net. Nearly 11 months later, CSN is averaging a 3.2 rating, highlighted by the Cubs’ win against the Brewers on August 11 posted a 5.1 rating, which was the station’s highest for a Cubs game since 2009.
As Brett noted a few weeks ago, ratings really seemed to hit a fevered pitch during in August with big numbers against the Giants and Brewers. So, this is a trend that seems here to stay and could trickle into September as the Cubs continue to attempt to keep a hold on a playoff spot.
It really has been quite a turnaround for the Cubs in the standings, whether it be in the National League Central, the Wild Card or in TV and radio ratings. The ratings could go a long way to determining just how lucrative the Cubs’ next television contract will be.