At some point all things plateau. It’s anybody’s guess as to whether this truism applies to fan interest in the Detroit Tigers at the halfway point of the 2014 season.
According to Crain’s Detroit Business, Fox Sports Detroit reveals that 72 broadcasts into the season, the team is averaging a 7.53 household rating in 2014, versus 9.02 at the same point in 2013, a stunning -17% drop. This, despite the Tigers’ record being better now (1st place, 47-34, +4½ games) than at this time last year (2nd place, 43-38, ½ game behind). Nevertheless, Greg Hammaren, a Detroit media executive, states that the team is still on pace to lead all MLB teams in local TV ratings for at least the third straight year.
Hammaren also states that he is unsure why the ratings have gone down, although he speculates in the story that some of the loss could be attributed to the now three-week-old World Cup, which on the face of it doesn’t seem to pass the smell test, but might be possible in the spirit of “anything is possible”.
My own non-professional speculation, which I admit is coming completely out of my ear and is being offered with my Tiger fan goggles on, is that Michiganders might be getting a wee bit weary of supporting a team they’ve been hearing for years is one of the best in baseball and the leading favorites to win it all, yet who have not brought home even a single World Series title, and who couldn’t even get past an inferior Red Sox team they obviously outplayed in last year’s ALCS. I’m just spitballing here, though …
FWIW, Comerica Park attendance is also down, by -6.2%.
Read more about it here:
Midseason report: Tigers attendance, TV ratings down from 2013