Every so often, we do our best to remind you how important the Cubs TV ratings are/can be to the organization as a whole.
Not only are the ratings themselves an indication of the general popularity (and thus money making ability) of the Chicago Cubs, but also because they might prove critical to the future of the franchise.
Take a look at the recent TV deal (and subsequent spending capability) of the Los Angeles Dodgers (or the Philadelphia Phillies) and you’ll begin to understand the dramatic implications. If you remember back, both of the Cubs current deals are set to expire at the end of the 2019 season. The details of their next deal, then, are likely being negotiated as we speak and could be extremely lucrative – obviously, higher ratings provide the Cubs with greater leverage in those discussions. And the more revenue the Cubs bring in, of course, the more money available to baseball operations.
Well, according to the Nielson Ratings (as detailed here by Forbes) the Chicago Cubs have experienced the largest year over year increase in TV ratings of any team in baseball … so, woo hoo!
Further, according to the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Cubs were averaging a 1.5 rating on the games televised by Comcast SportsNet in 2014. At the time, that was among the bottom five ratings on a regionals sports network in MLB. Fast-forward to 2016 and that number sits at 4.5 – that’s a 3x increase.
— Danny Ecker (@DannyEcker) October 3, 2016
As a crazy aside, the potential (but ultimately non-) clincher against the Brewers near the end of the regular season recorded an 11.2 rating – the highest for any regular-season game in CSN history.
Similarly, through last Sunday, the Cubs WGN and WPWR games locked in a 5.8 average rating (up 176%! since 2014, per the Tribune). They’re overall rating in 2016 (5.00) and percent increase (39%), then, ranks ninth and first respectively in all of baseball. Obviously, winning does wonders for the Chicago Cubs.
Although the final form of the Cubs’ new TV deal is still uncertain (and won’t kick in until 2020), the increase in ratings couldn’t have come at a better time. If Chicago is able to keep winning while also keeping up in the ratings, the Cubs may (have already) put themselves in an extremely enviable position.