Viewership for regional sports networks is flat over the All-Star break. But given the decline in linear television subscriptions and the league’s large number of games and most of them winning in primetime, Major League Baseball remains a hot property.
The year-over-year (YOY) numbers show that household impressions (HH) (IMP) are very close to where they were during the All-Star break last year. Overall, the league is down -0.38% or flat when rounded. Thirteen of the 29 are showing gains during 2021, while 15 are declining. In a remarkable sign of consistency, the Pittsburgh Pirates are seeing the same viewership numbers on AT&T
Baseball continues to be in high demand by advertisers given its large inventory of games and the near-daily pace that allows for product coverage in advertising.
“Our advertising revenue continues to grow for the past five years at double-digit CAGR (compound annual growth rate),” said Craig Sloan, COO of Playfly Sports, the company that oversees Home Team Sports, a company that covers a portfolio of advertisers. . in many of the RSNs, as a subsidiary. “It’s double-digit growth year over year.”
As Sloan notes, baseball sees remarkably consistent numbers based on fan loyalty. Household impression numbers bear this out as many notable gains are lagging behind in the rankings. At the top with the biggest profit are the Texas Rangers. Rangers see a +42% increase year over year. They are followed by the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners (+33%), St. Louis Cardinals (+30%) and Philadelphia Phillies (+25%).
Perhaps the biggest factor in MLB’s popularity with advertisers is how it dominates primetime against broadcast and cable competition. Eleven of the 29 are ranked #1 in their designated market area (Yankees, Phillies, Dodgers, Astros, Cardinals, Giants, Mariners, Guardians, Padres, Brewers, Royals) and five are ranked #2 (Braves, Tigers, Twins , Rays, Reds, and three ranked #3 (Mets, Red Sox, Orioles).
With a scorching record in the standings, the New York Yankees on the YES Network are seeing records being broken. Up 13% from HH’s impressions from this point last year, they have 22,597,400 by the All-Star break. In terms of total viewership, which counts people instead of households, through July 12, 19 of YES’ 70 regular-season games in 2022 have averaged over 400,000 total viewers in the designated New York market area (DMA). For all of last season, YES had 9 such Yankees regular season games (in 128 games total). Yankees games on YES Network are averaging 347,000 total viewers in the New York DMA, up 22% from last year’s MLB All-Star Break. According to projections, PO is on pace to have its second-best season-to-date distribution in a decade, since 2012.
And it’s not just the Yankees who are seeing big numbers. With New York’s DMA being the largest in the country, and the team also winning, the New York Mets are seeing annual total household impressions of 15,837,500, a +12% increase over last year at the All-Star break.
Not all clubs are performing well; some understandably so. With the departure of the Oakland A’s top talent and tanking in the order, they account for the biggest decline on the year (-46%). And it’s not just the A’s in the Bay Area who are down significantly. The San Francisco Giants are down -35%. They are followed by a -30% drop from the Cleveland Guardians and a -29% drop from the Cincinnati Reds.
- The 2021 World Series Champion Atlanta Braves just missed the top 5 of the YEAR’s biggest earners from household impressions posting a +23% gain (7,200,300 HH IMP compared to 5,848,500 in 2021 at the 2021 All-Star break .
- One of the most exciting teams in baseball in recent years may be dealing with some apathy. The San Diego Padres see a 21% drop in household impressions compared to this time last year (5,044,800 compared to 6,346,100 in 2021).
- Los Angeles Dodgers are down -15% but still crushing it due to massive LA DMA size (HH IMP of 11,817,600).
- The Chicago Cubs moved to their regional sports network just as the pandemic hit in 2020. Performance on the field in 2022 hasn’t helped it gain traction. Marquee Sports is down -25% from VT household impressions (6,368,900 compared to 8,475,000 at this point last year).
- The only team that could give the New York Yankees trouble before the World Series is the Houston Astros, and they continue to be strong on AT&T SportNet Southwest. The Astros are seeing a +8% year-over-year increase in All-Star break household impressions (10,551,600 compared to 9,783,500 year-over-year).
- The Boston Red Sox are currently in last place in the AL East and the issues have affected how they are performing their games on NESN. While not down as much as the Cubs, the Red Sox are -12% from HH IMP year over year.
- There is hope in Charm City. After years of poor showings in the standings, the Baltimore Orioles look promising, with a chance to earn a Wild Card spot. This translates into the number of homes watching games on MASN. The Orioles are up 6% from this point last year (2,422,000 household impressions compared to 2,291,100 at the All-Star break last year).
- If you compare the HH impressions from the end of the 2021 season to the HH IMP of the first half of the 2022 season, the league is up nearly 2% with 16 of 29 on the positive side.