MLB Teams Beat NHL, NBA Finals on Local RSNs


The championship series of the NHL and NBA were no match for regular season baseball in some local markets.

Regular season baseball games outdrew Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in fifteen television markets Wednesday night, including NHL strongholds Pittsburgh and Detroit.

The Giants/Pirates game on Root Sports earned an 8.95 rating in Pittsburgh, beating Bruins/Blackhawks Game 1 (5.99) by 49% head-to-head. In Detroit, the Tigers/Royals day game earned a 7.46 on Fox Sports Detroit — beating Game 1 (5.75) by 30%.

Baseball won the battle in seven other NHL markets, including Tampa-St. Petersburg (by 46%), Dallas (by 139%), Philadelphia (by 30%), Washington D.C. (by 9%), Los Angeles (by 11%) and the Bay Area — where the Giants and Athletics beat Game 1 by 99% and 36%, respectively.

In no NHL market was the gap larger than in St. Louis, however. The Cardinals/Mets game crushed Game 1 by 206% (8.72 to 2.85).

The NHL was not alone in losing to regular season baseball. On Tuesday night, the Tigers/Royals series beat the NBA Finals in both participating markets, including NBA market Detroit.

Tigers/Royals drew a 12.9 rating on FS Detroit, 70% higher than Heat/Spurs Game 3 (7.6). The 12.9 is the second-highest of the year for the Tigers on the network.

Tuesday’s game also drew an 8.8 rating on Fox Sports Kansas City, the highest ever for a Royals game on the network — and 45% higher than the NBA’s Game 3 (6.1). The previous record for the Royals on FS Kansas City was set the night before by the same match-up (8.1).

  • JeffreyT419

    Now if MLB could just get some decent numbers on its national telecasts.

  • ZabriskiePt

    Great piece of an article.

    And really impressive. A documented response to those who have shown an alleged “Baseball in trouble” argument off, citing how NHL was able to beat MLB week after week on national TV, a strained comparison between Playoffs and Regular Season on a national stage. But, as demonstrated by these numbers, on a local basis it’s a completely different matter, even where Hockey is particular strong (Pittsburgh), and this is an indisputable clue of MLB’s health. Even more if you put the NBA Finals in the mix and you see that RS Baseball has drawn record ratings in two big cities, beating Basketball head-to-head.
    That’s why MLB is making big bucks.
    …I think there are a lot of sports Leagues that would like to be at their last gasp like Baseball is…

  • Morgan Wick

    Should the usual caveats about Detroiters watching the Cup Final on CBC apply?

  • BallDAQ

    MLB is the king of RSNs. NBA is the King of National Cable and Social Media. NFL is the king of Network Broadcast… NHL is… quite frankly, mostly hype, if you exclude Canada of course. I mean, Game 1 included Boston v. Chicago. 2 big markets, 5hrs game, etc.. etc.. and all they could do was 4.8 overnight.

  • socaltj

    Zabriskie, I disagree. If the Penguins were in the NHL finals, then it would have done better than the baseball game in Pittsburgh. it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that local markets will watch their local teams first – especially if there is no competition from another local team. I believe I read that the NBA did better than the LA Kings in LA on a head to head – that is a bit surprising.

    BallDAQ, all of the sports are the king of RSNs to some degree. it really depends on the market. The Lakers do better than the Angels and Dodgers. The Penguins do better than the Pirates.