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Cubs Ratings for the Opener on Marquee Were Expectedly Huge

Chicago Cubs

At The Athletic, Jon Greenberg offered his take on a range of baseball and peripheral items from the first weekend of the season, explaining, for example, why Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies were wearing suit and tie yesterday in the heat. Good read, and worth your time.

The snippet that intrigued me most, probably unsurprisingly given my devotion to the topic, was about the initial ratings on Marquee Sports Network, now that there’s live regular season baseball, and now that Comcast is carrying the channel.

From Greenberg: “According to preliminary overnight ratings, from a source, the Cubs did a 6.0 household rating (equivalent to 195,000 homes) between 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Friday night, peaking with a 7 (225,000) around 8:30 p.m. That was the No. 1 viewed broadcast in that time slot in Chicago. (The White Sox game, according to a source, did a 3.1 [100,000 homes] on NBC Sports Chicago.)”

For context, the Cubs’ local average annual ratings in Chicago have ranged from 3.32 to 4.48 over the past five years – when the games were shared among NBC Sports Chicago and over-the-air options WGN and ABC. The last three years were right around 4.15. Moreover, the Cubs saw a pretty decent sized drop in their ratings from 2018 to 2019. So, yes, a 6.0 rating on Marquee – a cable-only channel – is enormous, even for an opener. I’d think the lack of sports content gave that even more of a boost.

On the one hand, it’s really awkward to discuss the TV ratings on a day when baseball’s situation is precarious, but on the other hand, I suppose the whole point of proceeding in the first place was to successfully provide entertainment. Unfortunately, this is the calculus constantly being made by MLB: is playing right now, with its risks, worth the upside of entertaining fans for dollars? I can’t say the three games so far were “worth it” in some cosmic sense, but I can say that today has left me feeling pretty concerned.



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.