Status check on the Chicago Cubs’ ratings this year: not great.
Maury Brown at Forbes checks in on the local ratings for teams across MLB, and although viewership across the country is roughly flat, that isn’t true with the Cubs in Chicago:
The Chicago Cubs moved to their own regional sports network right when the pandemic hit in 2020. The performance on the field in 2022 hasn’t helped it gain traction. Marquee Sports is down -25% by household impressions YOY (6,368,900 compared to 8,475,000 at this point last year).
Moreover, the Cubs and Marquee do not show up in Brown’s list of the 19 teams that rank first, second, or third in the primetime ratings in their market.
None of this is a surprise, of course. When your brand new network launch is immediately hit with a pandemic that takes your games off the air, and that is followed by two terrible seasons that feature more player selling than competing, the ratings probably aren’t going to pop.
The good news for the Cubs and Marquee is that the opportunity for improvement is right there for the taking: as Brown’s article notes, when teams are good, their ratings soar. There is a very clear correlation, and if the Cubs can just find a way to stay competitive in 2023, the ratings will reflect it.
For example, the Texas Rangers went out and added significantly to their roster from 2021 to 2022, not only raising the profile of their team, but also raising the winning percentage from .370 last year to .449 this year. And their ratings? Up a whopping 42%.
So. Yeah. When the team improves, the ratings generally follow.