Tag Archives: Seattle Mariners

If You’re a Baseball TV Ratings Geek, You Will Really Enjoy This Story

I will totally cop to being a ratings geek.  Even when I was a kid and they would publish local TV or radio ratings once a quarter in the entertainment section of the paper, I would immediately glue myself to the story and memorize the numbers and rankings. I love ratings so much, I selected my college major and career path just so they could be a part of my work.  So when I see an article like Maury Brown’s in Forbes from the other day, it’s like handing me a pound of peanut M&Ms and saying, here you go, chow down.

Brown takes a good look at the Nielsen TV ratings for the 29 clubs based in the U.S. (Toronto is in Canada and thus is not measured by Nielsen, so they’re not included here.) I would recommend you go on over and read his story for yourself, but if you can’t make time, here are a few high points from it:

  • Local baseball telecasts continue to dominate their markets during prime time (defined as 8p-11p Eastern and Pacific, and 7p-10p Central and Mountain). Ten teams rank #1 in their markets, led by Kansas City, St. Louis, Detroit and Pittsburgh. Another six come in at #2 or #3. This is amazing because almost all the telecasts run on cable regional sports networks, which do not have penetration into all the TV households in their markets, yet they routinely outpull even broadcast (aka “over-the-air”) stations in total viewers.
  • If you exclude broadcast stations from the analysis, baseball ranks #1 for 24 of the 25 local TV markets (except only Houston, who are handicapped by having to overcome a horrible TV situation with Comcast Sportsnet  from last year).
  • The Royals are riding their surprise World Series appearance and fast start this year to a +114% ratings increase versus last year, which puts them at the top with an astounding 12.7 household (HH) rating.  This means that 12.7% of all TV HH in Kansas City are tuned to the Royals at any given time. The Royals have both the highest rating and the greatest increase over last.  The Cardinals are second with a 10.2 HH rating. The Tigers (7.7), Pirates (7.6) and Mariners (6.3) round out the top five in ratings.
  • After the Royals, the  Cubs are riding a similar surge in win-loss record, plus exciting new young players, to a similar increase in ratings: +112% over last year, up to 3.1 from 1.5.  The Padres (+52%), Cardinals (+35%) and Nationals (+29%) round out this top five.  On the flip side, the White Sox are disappointing on TV as well as on the field, losing viewers at a -42% clip over 2014.  The Indians (-36%), Braves (-32%), Brewers (-27%) and Reds (-25%) have had similarly horrifying ratings losses, and yet, these latter four teams are still the #1 ratings grabbers in their markets.
  • In terms of total average viewers, big markets rule: The Yankees (206,000) and Mets (180,000) are 1-2, with the Red Sox (146,000), Tigers (141,000) and Cardinals (125,000) coming in at #3 through #5.

Here is the table from the Maury Brown story.  You can click through it to go directly to his story over at Forbes.

h/t Forbes.com and Maury Brown.
h/t Forbes.com and Maury Brown.

Tonight’s Mariner-Yankee Game Will Be the First Game Broadcast in 8K. What Does That Even Mean?

You may have run across this story a couple weeks ago: tonight’s game between the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium will be broadcast in 8K.

“8K” is a short name for something that might seem somewhat big and confusing to understand, but I will try to explain it in simple terms.

If you already have a standard HD TV, its maximum resolution in pixels is 1920 (in width) x 1080 (in height).  This is the same kind of screen resolution terminology used for your laptop or computer monitor, and you can see what that is right now by going to WhatIsMyScreenResolution.com.  Maybe your computer already uses 1920 x 1080, which would match an HD TV. My laptop comes in at 1600 x 900. The most common computer screen resolution is 1366 x 768.

The next big advancement in screen resolution for TVs is 4K, which has a max resolution of 3840 x 2160. How did they come up with the name “4K”? Because 3840 is close to 4,000; thus, “4K”.  If you like the resolution you get on your current HD TV, you will love the resolution of a 4K TV, which you can see for yourself by going to any store that has an electronics department.

So, you can get a 4K TV today if you want, but you won’t be able to see much 4K content on it. Even though top providers like DirecTV and Comcast’s Xfinity already have 4K boxes customers can obtain, only a few odd movie titles and TV series even offer true 4K, and none of that content includes major networks like ESPN, HBO, USA … or, sadly, anything MLB.  That should change within the next few years, but for now, unless you have too much money sitting around or you crave cutting edge technology, you probably want to wait before buying a 4K TV set.

OK, so, what about 8K? The screen resolution for 8K is 7680 x 4320, which is four times sharper than a 4K resolution, and even though 4K as a technology has fairly recently been released and is probably within a couple of years of widespread adoption, 8K is already nipping on its heels.  In fact, some industry insiders are predicting that 8K is coming on so fast that it won’t even make sense for consumers to get a 4K set, because by the time 4K is ready to become commonplace, something four times as good will be ready to go. (That prediction doesn’t take into account the possibility of a coordinated controlled rollout strategy by electronics manufacturers so they can maximize revenue from 4K technology before they start an 8K rollout, but this isn’t a forum for the discussion on the nature of free markets versus corporate collusion.)

All of which brings us full circle back to tonight’s Mariners-Yankees game: it’s going to be broadcast in 8K. But you and I and everybody else aren’t going to be able to see it, so why bother? They are bothering because they want to gauge the feasibility of broadcasting the game in higher-than-today’s high definition, which includes both 8K and 4K.  Eventually, the new technology will be taken advantage of, so they want to start that evaluation process tonight by viewing an 8K-resolution game in the one Yankee Stadium suite in which it will be available in order to answer the question, “Can this actually be a thing?”

Major League Baseball probably does have a while to think about and work on it, though. Current estimates call for 22 million 4K TV shipments by 2017 and 1 million 8K TV shipments by 2019.  That might sound like a lot, but considering we live in a world with 1.5 billion TV households, including about 116 million in the US, you can see that there is a long way to go before most households will have either one, and most likely not until 2020-something.

So, it will probably be a while before you and I shell out the bucks for something better than the HD sets we have today.  But it’s also good to know what’s coming down the pike, too.

(NOTE: I had to do a significant edit to change the explanation how they arrived at 4K and 8K as an explanation.  As the kids of 1995 like to say, “my bad”.)

News Bites for January 26, 2015

Wildcats lose play-by-play voice Chris Graham; WNC baseball looks for new broadcaster: Chris Graham, who has called the games for the Western Nevada College baseball team for eight years, is leaving the voluntary post for a full-time job with the Nevada legislature.  If you have your own broadcasting equipment and have a deep understanding of baseball, contact Coach DJ Whittemore at (775) 445-3250 to apply.

Auburn Doubledays hire an operations manager, play-by-play voice: The nascent New York-Penn League franchise has hired David Lauterbach, a senior at Syracuse University, as their play-by-play voice.  Lauterbach worked the games for the Falmouth Commodores of the Cape Cod Baseball League for the past two seasons.

Headrick joins RailRiders broadcast team: The Yankees’ Triple A affiliate in Scranton-Wilkes Barre has hired Darren Headrick as color announcer alongside play-by-play guy John Sadakon on both radio and television game broadcasts.  Headrick previously did PxP for the indians’ Advanced A affiliate Carolina Mudcats, and was named 2013 Carolina League Broadcaster of the Year.

Welcome Liebhaber to the radio booth: The Jackson Generals radio booth, that is.  Brandon Liebhaber is a 22-year-old graduate of Northwestern University.  The Generals, who play in the Southern League, are the Double A affiliates of the Mariners. Liebhaber has previously announced in the Cape Cod league and for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes of the California League.

Royals’ Matthews on pace of play: Keep hitter in batter’s box, call a strike a strike: As the Royals’ TV PxP announcer, Denny Matthews has a definite opinion about pace of play.

Bye Bye, Bud: Selig Left His Mark On Baseball: Say what you want about the guy.  Whether you love him or hate him, either way, you gotta admit it: the reign of Bud Selig has been very positive for the growth of baseball media.