MLB Wrap: “MLB on FOX” Averages 1.7 Rating, New Record-Low For Baseball on Broadcast

Posted by | October 9, 2012 at 6:10 PM

For the fourth consecutive season, regular season Major League Baseball coverage on broadcast failed to average even 2% of U.S. television homes.

FOX averaged a 1.7 rating and 2.5 million viewers for 24 regular season MLB telecast windows during the 2012 season, Sports Business Daily reported Tuesday, down 6% in ratings and 7% in viewership from a 1.8 and 2.7 million viewers in each of the past three seasons.

The 1.7 rating is the lowest ever for the Major League Baseball “Game of the Week” on broadcast television. Baseball on FOX has now either set or tied a regular season record-low in each of the past five seasons.

In addition, ratings for baseball on FOX have either declined or remained flat in ten consecutive seasons.

This year’s record low is a surprise, considering the steps FOX took at the beginning of the season to boost ratings. The network expanded primetime coverage from three telecast windows last year to eight this year. Two low-rated August dates were removed from the schedule to avoid competition from the Olympics.

For the fifth consecutive season, baseball on FOX finished behind the NBA on ABC (3.3, 5.4M). The NBA held a whopping 94% advantage in ratings this season, the largest lead the league has held since FOX first began televising baseball in 1996 (5.3 to 2.7).

Baseball on FOX did finish ahead of the NHL on NBC (1.0, 1.6M).

Average Reg. Season Ratings/Viewership For Select Sporting Events on Broadcast
^ CBS college football average is for SEC telecasts only; NBC average is for Notre Dame only.
# NASCAR average includes 2012 Daytona 500 — an obvious advantage, considering none of the other averages include playoff/bowl games.

Season
Sport
Net
TCs Rating Viewers (000)
2012 NASCAR FOX
13#
4.8
7.9M
2011 NCAAFB CBS
15^
4.2
6.9M
2011 NCAAFB ABC
34
3.5
5.5M
2011-12 NBA ABC
15
3.3
5.4M
2012 MLB FOX
24
1.7
2.5M
2011 NCAAFB NBC
7
1.6
2.6M
2011-12 NCAABB CBS
30
1.3
1.9M
2011-12 NHL NBC
12
1.0
1.6M

(MLB season averages from Sports Business Daily)

  • Marlininc

    Good luck with your new tv rights deal for baseball.

    • Jeffrey

      The non-cable networks pay the baseball tv rights fees basically for the postseason. That is why Fox will be airing fewer games in the future. When NBC and ABC bid on baseball in the late 80′s (and lost out to CBS), CBS paid huge money but cut back on regular-season games. It’s all about the crown jewels: The All Star Game, the playoffs, and the World Series. And even though those event do not get the ratings they once were, their fall is actually in line with other programming, with the exception of the NFL. I admit I was hoping NBC would get in on baseball this time around and have Bob Costas back in the booth for the biggest baseball games of the year.

  • Travrolaid2002

    I can describe the reason why in 2 words…Tim McCarver.

  • Svengali84

    I guess this is why FOX will have fewer windows when the new deal kicks in.