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The 2016 Major League Baseball regular season is about complete and the results are already in: the Kansas City Royals are the league’s local ratings champion in the nation once again.
In a comprehensive ratings report by Maury Brown of Forbes magazine, the defending 2015 world champion Royals averaged a 11.7 rating (105,000 households) on Fox Sports Kansas City within the Kansas City market, according to Nielsen; down 10 percent from their 12.98 rating which led all teams in 2015. The nearby St. Louis market — a city with usual high interest in baseball — heavily tuned into Fox Sports Midwest for their Cardinals, runner-up in the nation with a 8.54 rating (104,000 households), 21 percent below one year ago (10.86 rating).
The rest of the top five in local ratings were the Detroit Tigers (Fox Sports Detroit), Baltimore Orioles (MASN) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (ROOT Sports). Of the top five, three teams (St. Louis, Detroit, Baltimore) had been in one of their respective league’s wild card spots at some point in September.
Experiencing the largest year-to-year ratings increase were the Cleveland Indians on SportsTime Ohio. Compared to the ratings of their disappointing 2015 year, the 2016 American League Central Division champions jumped up 71 percent (7.05 rating from a 4.1 rating). Other teams with large increases included the Chicago Cubs (on CSN Chicago, +39 percent), the aforementioned Orioles (on MASN, +36 percent), the Colorado Rockies (on ROOT, +36 percent) and the Boston Red Sox (on NESN, +33 percent).
By the number of actual households, the New York Mets (on SNY) was tops with 215,000 households, followed by the New York Yankees (on YES), the Chicago Cubs (on CSN Chicago), the Boston Red Sox (on NESN) and the Detroit Tigers (on Fox Sports Detroit).
Although national ratings for MLB have lagged in recent years (as exhibited most recently from the 2016 All-Star Game), there has been much regional interest for the sport. Games for 24 of the 29 U.S. MLB teams were the top-rated cable program in each of the teams’ respective markets from April thru September. 9 teams were the top-rated program of all of television (including broadcast) in their home markets; 16 teams ranked at least in the top three in each of their markets.
For an in-depth look and information chart of the 29 MLB teams (Toronto Blue Jays from Canada’s SportsNet not included), go to Maury Brown’s Forbes 2016 ratings report.