Despite both having relatively mediocre seasons up to the All-Star Break, the Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals are the top Major League Baseball draws when it comes to regional sports network cable TV ratings. The Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers round out the top five, with the Oakland A’s at the bottom of the charts.
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The Royals’ league-high 12.23 average rating is particularly impressive, up 2 percent from midseason last year even though the defending World Series champions were only two games over .500 on the field at the break. Last year, the Royals ended their championship season with a 12.33 average regular-season rating on FS Kansas City, marking the league’s highest local average rating since 2002.
The Cardinals’ average rating is down 13 percent compared with midseason last year, but that 8.05 rating is still the league’s second-highest mark.
SportsBusiness Journal reviewed data from all 30 MLB teams. At the season’s midpoint, exactly half the league (15 teams) had seen a local ratings increase. Not surprisingly, the teams with the best win-loss records were the ones posting the biggest increases on TV.
It should also be noted that while the average ratings are high in St. Louis and Kansas City, they are not the leaders in total viewers, as they are mid-market teams. For example, more total viewers tune into Yankees games, but it is a smaller percentage of available viewers.