In the latest of “Baseball’s Not Dying” television stories, comes this interesting article from Forbes: Baseball is Beating the NBA and NHL Playoffs in Local TV Ratings. Fortunately – for MLB, that is – that title is not misleading (or click-baity) in any way. The facts in the article are both unbelievable and noteworthy. I’ll share a bit of the story, here, but it is well worth the read.
Last Wednesday night, there were three high-profile (playoff) nationally televised sporting events, unrelated to baseball: game 5 of The Atlanta Hawks/Washington Wizards series, game 5 of the Memphis Grizzlies/Golden State Warriors playoff series, and game 7 of the New York Rangers/Washington Capitals series. According to Forbes, though, Major League Baseball on local regional networks beat out the NBA and NHL playoffs in 14 of 24 markets.
Most dramatically, the Kansas City Royals/Texas Rangers game led all sports that evening, with a 13.0 rating. Compared to the 1.6 rating for the NBA playoff games and .1 rating for the NHL game, that is quite the lead.
Elevated TV ratings is good news for all of baseball, but can be an especially good sign for teams that have yet to sign their “Mega-TV” contracts, like the Chicago Cubs. There’s been constant speculation that the TV bubble is about to burst on such deals, so prolonged, heightened ratings can show that there’s still money to be made.
Given that the Cubs’ TV ratings are the highest they’ve been in four years, the Cubs appear to still be on track to cash in on a big deal, perhaps well in advance of the expiration of their current deals (2019).