July 07, 2008
I think stories about television ratings and sporting events tend to be mind-numbingly boring with the exception of one instance ... when they make like the NHL and measure at embarrassingly minuscule (ie: smaller than the WNBA) levels.
The news from Sports Business Journal (subscription) then, that the not-so-good Nationals are averaging only 9,000 households per telecast, less than a third of the next lowest-rated team, the Kansas City Royals, qualifies for a mocking mention here on the Stew.
Nine thousand people? A 0.39 overall score? Really? I know Nats baseball isn't as exciting or riveting as C-SPAN or Wolf Blitzer, but you figure the Nats would have scored a higher rating just by the people leaving their televisions on after a Skins minicamp update on MASN or having to go somewhere else for their irrelevancy now that The Boss has left Blog Show.
Dan Steinberg sent this story along to me — the Yankees have the highest viewership at an average of 325K households a game — and he checks in with the same "how the hell could they even measure that small of a number?" incredulity as me, albeit from a local perspective.
Seriously, what the heck is going on here? Why do we have a baseball team? Is this just yet another example of Washingtonians being front-runners? Will the numbers spike when the Nats start winning? Does it just require time, no matter what the W-L record is? Was Peter Angelos actually correct about the lack of D.C. baseball fans? Is it really that hard to find MASN2? Or is it just that, in general, with one notable exception, Washington is to pro sports what Billings is to high culture?
You know, I used to laugh when I heard local Washingtonians predict that Nats Park would be without a tenant after this current D.C. baseball squad showed it couldn't succeed in the nation's capital. Now I'm starting to see a reason for their cynicism.