The Yankees and Red Sox can’t play every week, to the chagrin of the people in charge of the MLB on Fox broadcast, and Fox paid for it with a 1.6 overnight HH rating. That’s down some -30% from the 2.3 the game between the Two Evil Empires generated the week before.
That 2.3 from last week is actually the only game that generated anything better than a 1.7 all year. By contrast, all seven of the first MLB on Fox broadcasts from 2013 scored better than that 1.7.
Houston (and every other major league city), we most definitely have a problem.
Read more here:
MLB on FOX Falls Back to Earth With 1.6 Overnight
Even though MLB on Fox’s Saturday night matchup between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees achieved their high-water ratings mark for the season with a 2.3, beating the previous season high of 1.6, it was still down -8% from high of 2.5 from both last year and 2012.
This proves once again: you want ratings? You want Boston and the Bronx, then.
FOX Hits Season-High Overnight For Sox/Yanks, But Still Down
Steve Lepore is mostly an NHL media guy, writing about that pucking sport for SB Nation and Awful Announcing, as well as being a correspondent for SiriusXM radio’s NHL Network.
But Lepore does write about other sports and topics, and he has in fact recently written an article for Awful Announcing about the problem, as he sees it, that Baseball has as a national broadcast property.
Lepore proffers a cogent hypothesis as to why nationally televised baseball games continue to suffer in the ratings—e.g., ratings for one network are down double digit percents in 2014 versus last year—and makes suggestions to fix it.
It’s a good read and I would recommend giving it a look, but I can give you some spoilers here.
The two biggest problems, as Lepore sees it:
- There are simply too many national games on TV: ESPN airs them on Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays; Fox has Saturdays; TBS has Sunday afternoons in the second half of the season; and MLB Network picks up the remaining days. Yet in this era of game ubiquity through vehicles like MLB.TV and Extra Innings, why watch a national game with a so-so matchup over a game involving a team you actually care about?
- Baseball has what Lepore might term a “matchups problem”, concentrating too much on both (1) showing traditional big market teams which had pulled good numbers in the past, and (2) trying to be fair and featuring as many of the 29 American teams as they can.
Lepore’s suggestions for Baseball to fix this state of affairs:
- Dump Saturday national broadcasts, which is a relic of viewership patterns from over a half a century ago, since people simply do not watch live TV on Saturdays, period.
- Develop exclusive national broadcast game events on Mondays and Thursdays throughout the season, with all other games played during the day, and split those nights between ESPN and Fox (or more exactly, their new FS1 property).
- Keep schedules flexible in order to choose top matchups for those Monday and Thursday games, making the decision roughly two weeks out, rather than committing to certain games and teams at the beginning of the season, when no one knows what the color of the season is going to be.
These may not make for “must see TV”, necessarily, but Lepore believes these changes could drive better ratings than Baseball gets for nationally televised games today.
Read the full article here:
RETHINKING BASEBALL ON NATIONAL TELEVISION
From Sports Business Daily comes the news that it’s not all good for Fox as far as MLB’s appeal as a TV program is concerned so far this year.
Saturday regional MLB games earned a 1.6 overnight rating, which is -22% lower than last year’s 2.2 and -39% lower than 2012’s 2.6. The 1.6 is the third lowest ever for a primetime MLB game on Fox, and the two lower numbers came from broadcasts earlier this year.
Read more at:
Sports Media Watch
Sports Business Daily (subscription required)
There have been a lot of scattershot stories and tweets from various sources reporting who will be making up the broadcast team, studio analysts and other talent for Fox’s various baseball products airing during the season. Earlier today, Fox themselves released the key details for their MLB broadcasts to the press.
In a nutshell:
- Joe Buck, Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci will be the “Lead Game Broadcast Team”; Ken Rosenthal and Erin Andrews will continue on as on-field reporters all season. Kenny Albert and Thom Brennaman will also take on play-by-play assignments during the season.
- Kevin Burkhardt will host the new pregame show; Frank Thomas, Eric Karros, Gabe Kapler and C.J. Nitkowski will also join as analysts.
- A new weeknightly show called “MLB WHIPAROUND” (all caps sic) will debut on FS1 starting on March 31, hosted by Chris Myers along with one or two of the analysts named above, and will feature “quick-turnaround highlights of in-progress games, news and analysis”.
Read more here:
MLB on FOX Ushers in New Era
Following up on the heels of the announcement from the Springfield, MO Fox affiliate from a couple of days prior, MLB on Fox utilized their sister website to breathlessly announce their full MLB schedule for 2014.
According to the story:
FOX Sports, MLB’s primary broadcast rights holder since 1996 and exclusive national broadcast partner since 2001, will begin a new eight-year, multiplatform media rights agreement that adds national cable and digital coverage to its portfolio, doubling regular-season exposures, mostly on Saturdays, from 26 to 52 games combined on the FOX Broadcast Network and FOX Sports 1, with 20 Saturday doubleheaders, 10 exclusively on FOX Sports 1 and 10 split between FOX Sports 1 and the FOX Broadcast Network.
FS1 gets down to business right away with an April 5 tilt pitting the Twins and the Indians—not the most marquee of matchups, but it’s a start—followed immediately by Giants at Dodgers.
As you will see for yourself on the schedule in the story, there will be many regional broadcasts on Fox itself, so don’t forget to avail yourself of the keen maps over at 506 Sports to see what’s playing in your market.
Click here to read more.
- Clayton Kershaw’s Dodgers have seven national FOX or FOX Sports 1 games this season. Photo by: Christian Petersen