In the playoffs, viewership is supposed to increase as the teams involved decrease, peaking with the championship round. This isn’t a bold, revolutionary claim – we see it every year in every sport.
In this year’s MLB Postseason, with just one game left in the Divisional Series round, viewership has dropped dangerously low for the league.
Thursday’s four games averaged 1.59 million viewers, down a tick from the 1.60 million viewers averaged for Wednesday’s four games. The four games on Tuesday averaged 1.69 million viewers, and the two games on Monday averaged 1.88 million viewers. So not only has the viewership slipped as each series has gone on, but the average viewership the round has also slipped. The current average of 1.606 million viewers is currently lower than the 1.609 million viewers for the 18 games in the Wild Card round.
One driver in that overall viewership decrease is the two games that aired on MLB Network, which drew two of the three smallest audiences of the round. Chopping those two games out, the average viewership increases to 1.77 million viewers. However, it’s telling that only one game from the three series not airing in primetime has drawn over 1.5 million viewers (the wild Game 2 of the Dodgers-Padres NLDS).
On Thursday, Game 4 of the Rays-Yankees series increased to 2.745 million viewers for TBS, which actually edged out the NFL Network broadcast of Thursday Night Football (the game also aired on Fox, and drew a much larger audience there). Game 4 of A’s-Astros declined to 1.435 million viewers on TBS. FS1 aired Game 3 of Braves-Marlins as opposed to MLB Network, and it increased to 1.013 million viewers. The Dodgers’ Game 3 victory over the Padres aired on MLB Network, and declined to 1.167 million viewers.
Here’s the full viewership list ahead of the final game of the round on Friday night.
Barring something unforeseen regarding Friday night’s Rays-Yankees Game 5, viewership for the round as a whole should be able to jump the Wild Card round. I’m shocked that that MLB is even in this position, and if anything, it’s showing that the appeal for day games may not be as high as MLB (and MLB Twitter) believes it is.
[Data via ShowBuzz Daily]