According to data published by Sports Business
Journal, Fox Sports Midwest, home of 130 St. Louis Cardinals game
telecasts in 2008, had a very good year in terms of viewership.
Cardinals games on Fox Sports
Midwest pulled down a 7.89 rating in
the St. Louis market, second-best of any regional sports network (RSN). Only the
New England Sports Network (NESN), home of the Boston Red Sox, garnered a higher
rating in their market. Yet unlike NESN, which saw a 17 percent decline in share
from last season, the FSMW number was up 5.2 percent over the 2007 season.
Considering the average number of
households watching games, FSMW averaged 98,000 TV households in the St. Louis market, a 6.2
percent increase from last season. That total was ninth-best across the 31
regional sports networks (RSNs) ranked.
To help put the Cardinals positive
results into context, overall the 17 Fox Sports Net (FSN) regional networks saw
their baseball viewership drop 4 percent year-to-year.
Local ratings were down in many
markets, as a total of 19 RSNs experienced a decline this past season, including
15 of which plummeted by double digits. Only 11 of the RSNs had ratings
increases for their regular-season games. Six of them showed double-digit growth
from 2007, led by a pair of American League division-winners, the Tampa Bay Rays
and Chicago White Sox.
In the broader picture, the
national network ratings for Major League Baseball were even worse, down across
the board during the 2008 regular season.
The Fox Network’s MLB ratings fell
13 percent to 2.0, as viewership dropped 12.5 percent for its Saturday afternoon
games. ESPN fared relatively less poorly, as their rating fell by 7 percent
year-on-year. Even TBS, new to the national scene in 2008, saw a decline of
almost 30 percent compared to their 2007 ratings when they broadcast only
Atlanta Braves games.
Especially given that backdrop,
Fox Sports Midwest has every right to
be pleased over their ratings of Cardinals telecasts. Fox Sports Midwest spokesman Geoff Goldman put it this way.
“Fans throughout the region really
latched on to this Cardinals team.
Our Cardinals telecasts continue to dominate local viewing, and Cardinals
baseball on Fox Sports Midwest ranked
second in prime time among all channels in St. Louis during baseball season,” Goldman
Note: You may have caught the slight
change in name, as what was FSN Midwest is back to simply being Fox Sports
Midwest. Their new logo is shown above.
Brian Walton can be reached via
email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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