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Networks see record-low MLB ratings

The SportsXchange

While postseason television ratings are up over 2011 numbers, regional broadcasts during the regular season saw record-low viewership figures.

FOX averaged a 1.7 rating and 2.5 million viewers for its Saturday regionalized telecasts during the 2012 regular season, the lowest numbers since the network acquired the television rights before the 1996 season, according to The Sports Business Daily.

The previous three seasons had seen steady numbers of 1.8 ratings and 2.7 million viewers. The Saturday telecasts were impacted by the Olympics, as this marked the fifth straight Summer Games in which Saturday MLB television ratings declined.

Meanwhile, ESPN averaged a 1.2 U.S. rating and 1.8 million viewers for "Sunday Night Baseball," according to The Daily. That marks the lowest ratings since 2005 and is 20 and 22 percent, respectively, down from last season.

The silver lining was MLB Network, which averaged 220,000 viewers for its regular-season games, up from 207,000 in 2011.

Locally, 16 teams saw ratings decline for their television broadcasts, including 11 dipping by double-digits. Ratings for the Philadelphia Phillies, who missed the playoffs, were down 40.2 percent on CSN Philadelphia, according to The Daily.

The biggest gain was seen by the Washington Nationals, whose ratings skyrocketed 77.8 percent on MASN/MASN2 as the team won the National League East title.

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