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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

FOX Sports Midwest Cardinals ratings tops in MLB

In the most recent Nielsen research data, the St. Louis Cardinals games have taken over the highest local ratings in baseball.

fsmidwest-cards-logos“The best fans in baseball.”

When tossed around in reference to the followers of the St. Louis Cardinals, I don’t like it one bit. It has nothing to do with an outbreak of the wave at Busch Stadium while the home team is batting in the eighth inning of a tie game. It is just one of those terms that is better left unsaid.

Having the most rabid fans, on the other hand, can be suggested – and when using television ratings in support of one’s position, that debate can be won.

On Monday, SportsBusiness Journal published an analysis of Nielsen Media Research data through the All-Star break. The Cardinals regional sports network, FOX Sports Midwest, came in number one across all of major league baseball’s local markets with a 9.70 average rating. That represents over 120,000 households in the St. Louis market watching the telecast on the average and both numbers are a whopping 41.6 percent higher than last season.

The next closest club, the Minnesota Twins on FOX Sports North, have a 7.85 average rating in the Twin Cities DMA. The Oakland A’s on CSN California are last at 1.23. The leader for the past six years, the Boston Red Sox’ NESN, slipped to fifth at 6.25, causing much concern in Beantown. (These ratings do not account for viewers in outer markets.)

It was recently disclosed that starting in 2011, FS Midwest will be televising all Cardinals games not on national broadcasts. On the radio side, rumors persist that the team is considering a change from KTRS, despite holding a partial ownership stake in the station.

In the radio rankings, KTRS comes in ninth in MLB in terms of average listeners at 128,400. That is down five percent from last season. KTRS is third in MLB in average rating among the desirable 25-54 age male group at 19.1. Again, that is in decline, down 4.5 percent from 2009.

At the national level, ratings remained basically flat on every network except ESPN.

FOX averaged a 1.9 rating for their MLB game coverage during the first half of the season, same as last year. While that is slightly up, it isn’t great news as last season, FOX’s 1.8 average was a record low. ESPN’s 1.0 national rating for its games is down from last year’s 1.1, while ESPN2 averaged 0.74. Not surprisingly, TBS was the least-watched of the national networks with a 0.41 rating, even with last year.

Click on the above link to be taken to the detailed data.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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