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Tuesday, July 08, 2014

MLB Network Just Finished Most Watched Quarter Ever

It’s funny – despite all of our lamenting about MLB’s decline in casual fan viewership, the diehards are still tuning in at levels we haven’t seen before. Maybe that’s the best course of action for the major networks – don’t worry about appealing to the casual fan. Just try to make the diehard fans happy, and the rest will eventually start to come. Isn’t that what NBC did with the Premier League? Isn’t that what ESPN is doing with the World Cup? There aren’t any stupid gimmicks or inane talking points, and that strategy is working just fine for those two networks.

“Ever” is a bit misleading because the network hasn’t existed that long but it’s still a nice counterpoint to all the “baseball is dying!” articles we get.

Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 08, 2014 at 03:03 PM | 31 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: baseball is dying, television

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   1. Wahoo Sam Posted: July 08, 2014 at 05:16 PM (#4746450)
One reason MLB Network and NFL Network and others continue to see record growths is the mobility in this country due to the employment problems. More people are moving away from their "natural" region to seek jobs.
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 08, 2014 at 05:22 PM (#4746465)
I think there's also a move away from "generalist" towards niche or "specialists." If you're a big baseball fan, why would you tune into ESPN anymore and have to deal with Tim Tebow/Lebron James talk and baseball talk that doesn't even seem to know much about baseball when you can tune into MLB Network? Walter Cronkite is dead, and he's been replaced by a thousand different people that know one thing, but know it very, very well.
   3. McCoy Posted: July 08, 2014 at 05:49 PM (#4746520)
People have been moving away for decades and isn't because they are desperate for jobs
   4. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: July 08, 2014 at 05:55 PM (#4746530)
If you're a big baseball fan, why would you tune into ESPN anymore and have to deal with Tim Tebow/Lebron James talk and baseball talk that doesn't even seem to know much about baseball when you can tune into MLB Network?

Exactly. I LOVE baseball but don't care one bit about the NFL, college football, the NBA, college basketball, soccer, NASCAR, the X Games, the Espys, golf, tennis, or the musings of ABC TV personality and alleged comedian Nick Bakay. I care about roughly 10% of a typical SportsCenter, but 99% of a typical night on the MLB Network with the remaining 1% being any segment involving the execrable Chris Russo.

Walter Cronkite is dead, and he's been replaced by a thousand different people that know one thing, but know it very, very well.

Then on the other hand there's Mitch Williams and Harold Reynolds.... (sigh)
   5. madvillain Posted: July 08, 2014 at 05:56 PM (#4746533)
The diehard fan is not what any sports entity should really be concerned about from a marketing standpoint. Otherwise, the NHL and PGA would be a great shape. Casual fans drive ratings, casual fans drive revenue. See the World Cup ratings.
   6. McCoy Posted: July 08, 2014 at 06:07 PM (#4746547)
Casual fans drive ratings, casual fans drive revenue. See the World Cup ratings

Then check out the professional soccer league of America or whatever the hell it is called. The World Cup is a once every 4 year event much like the Olympics. People will watch some guy run a couple hundred feet every 4 years but they won't tune in every week or even once a year for the championship.

MLB's base is much bigger than the PGA or NHL base plus MLB has a ton of games going on every single day during the season. Very few people in Kentucky or Nebraska are going to give a fig about the NHL but they will want to watch more than 15 seconds of some team that isn't the Yankees or Red Sox which is all they would get without the MLB channel.
   7. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 08, 2014 at 06:12 PM (#4746551)
One reason MLB Network and NFL Network and others continue to see record growths is the mobility in this country due to the employment problems.

That sounds logical, but recessions actually reduce mobility. A lot of it is people being unable to sell their houses and not wanting to take losses when they do sell their houses.

Mobility always tends to slow in times of economic hardship, and there has been a gradual decline in American mobility for decades. But census numbers released earlier this year showed that domestic migration in 2010 had plummeted substantially since the recession began and reached the lowest level since the government began tracking it in the 1940s.


The snowbelt-to-sunbelt migration that characterized the boom years has resumed, but only sluggishly, Brookings Institution senior fellow William Frey said. In the wake of the recession, millennials have remained cautious about moving, putting a drag on state-to-state migration, he said.


This week New York Times columnist David Brooks noted the decline in mobility among Americans as yet another indicator and argued that the country had become “insecure,” “risk averse” and even fatalistic about its future.

We at the ACP agree with Mr. Brooks about the mobility trend, but believe his theories about what it means are, at best, something of a reach. Americans may be more insecure about the future – indeed, the last recession and its fallout could give anyone that concern – but the decrease in American mobility are more likely about long-term urbanization and changes in American communities like the ones we see in the ACP.

First, there is nothing particularly new about the declining mobility rate. It’s been dropping pretty steadily since a spike in 1984, when it reached about 20%, dropping to about 12% today, as these numbers show. So this isn’t a sudden loss in confidence of among Americans. Or rather, if dropping mobility is about a loss confidence, it is about a slow, steady loss of confidence.
   8. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: July 08, 2014 at 06:14 PM (#4746552)
People will watch some guy run a couple hundred feet every 4 years but they won't tune in every week or even once a year for the championship.

From my observation, the casual fans tuning in for the World Cup in America aren't casual fans of soccer. They're casual fans of Murica!
   9. JE (Jason) Posted: July 08, 2014 at 06:21 PM (#4746558)
Then on the other hand there's Mitch Williams

Where?
   10. JE (Jason) Posted: July 08, 2014 at 06:22 PM (#4746560)
MLB Network Just Finished Most Watched Quarter Ever

No doubt the fans are tuning in to see if Brian Kenny kills the win.
   11. Ziggy Posted: July 08, 2014 at 07:12 PM (#4746590)
Where is Mitch Williams? About a foot outside. On the first pitch. Who knows where the second one will go.
   12. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: July 08, 2014 at 08:12 PM (#4746628)
I love the network. It's made not having MLB TV or EL bearable. The secondary programming is also pretty good except for High Heat which seems so out of place on the channel except for maybe Kevin Millar's continued employment.
   13. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: July 08, 2014 at 08:32 PM (#4746643)

I was going to post the same thing as #7. The recession and housing crisis have decreased mobility and household formation - young people are getting married, moving out, and having kids later given their financial insecurity. Of course, that probably means more guys living in their mothers' basements, which I have to think would be a boon for the MLB network.
   14. Canker Soriano Posted: July 08, 2014 at 08:40 PM (#4746649)
I love the network.

Me too. It's the equivalent of white noise in my house - always on in the background. Except for the talk shows - Intentional Talk, High Heat, etc. But MLB Tonight is wonderful, if sometimes grating depending on how much yelling Harold Reynolds feels like doing that day.
   15. pthomas Posted: July 08, 2014 at 08:56 PM (#4746659)
The Dodger TV contract fiasco might also be helping their numbers. Now that I'm not routinely DVR'ing the Dodgers (just the Angels) I have time freed up for the MLB network games and MLB Tonight. I'm sure that lots of fans in Southern California are also adding MLB Network to their viewing habits. As this is one of the bigger markets in the country, MLB Network is reaping the benefits.
   16. Justin T steals bases with his bat Posted: July 08, 2014 at 11:06 PM (#4746709)
Nick Bakay still shows up on ESPN?
   17. valuearbitrageur Posted: July 09, 2014 at 01:56 AM (#4746754)
During the past three months, MLB Network averaged a whopping 206,000 viewers in primetime and 105,000 over the full day, increases of 12% and 27% from the second quarter of 2013


Before getting too excited, this is the MLB Network, not MLB baseball. 206k viewers in primetime is miniscule, you need more than double that to crack the top 180 shows, even Sharktank does at least double those numbers.

http://uproxx.com/tv/2014/05/every-2013-2014-primetime-tv-show-ranked-by-nielsen-rating/

So it has nothing to do with mobility, or general MLB popularity or MLB game audience sizes. It has nothing to do with how many people watch MLB games (if it's ever only 200k a day the MLB is dead). The MLB created their own tiny network and has poured money into growing it's audience size but has still only reached a small niche of diehard fans.
   18. boteman Posted: July 09, 2014 at 05:20 AM (#4746769)
Since MLB Network is only carried on DirecTV and certain (not all) cable systems in a patchwork, it's reasonable to expect it to have limited penetration. Maybe by that measure this is a jackpot of viewers?

Also, it serves as white noise/eye candy in many a sports bar which do not figure into ratings but still give the network exposure.

MLB might consider it to be a sort of loss leader, an effort that is required of them to keep up with the NFL Joneses so that any viewership at all might be considered gravy? I'm not convinced that conventional metrics apply here, regardless of the crowiness of the headline posted above.
   19. Drexl Spivey Posted: July 09, 2014 at 06:22 AM (#4746774)
even Sharktank does at least double those numbers.


Shark Tank is a legitimately great show.
   20. Drexl Spivey Posted: July 09, 2014 at 06:48 AM (#4746775)

Before getting too excited, this is the MLB Network, not MLB baseball. 206k viewers in primetime is miniscule, you need more than double that to crack the top 180 shows, even Sharktank does at least double those numbers.

http://uproxx.com/tv/2014/05/every-2013-2014-primetime-tv-show-ranked-by-nielsen-rating/


Those are the most viewed network primetime tv shows.
   21. villageidiom Posted: July 09, 2014 at 07:58 AM (#4746778)
Those are the most viewed network primetime tv shows.
206k viewers is miniscule, you need triple that to crack the top 100 cable shows on any given night, even 6 AM reruns of Hangin' With Mr. Cooper on Nick at Nite does at least triple those numbers. Link
   22. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: July 09, 2014 at 08:15 AM (#4746783)
I'm watching MLB TV right now as I sip my coffee! You're welcome Bud, you #######.
   23. The Pequod Posted: July 09, 2014 at 09:02 AM (#4746796)
MLB Network is the only thing I miss about cable.
   24. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 09, 2014 at 09:33 AM (#4746806)
Hangin' with Mr. Cooper is a legitimately great show.
   25. boteman Posted: July 09, 2014 at 09:35 AM (#4746808)
The Real Housewives of Atlanta is an illegitimately great show.
   26. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 09, 2014 at 10:17 AM (#4746831)
99% of a typical night on the MLB Network with the remaining 1% being any segment involving the execrable Chris Russo.


Seriously, who thought anyone outside of New York could stand this guy? "Hey, I have an idea! Let's give Gilbert Gottfried a show about baseball!"
   27. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 09, 2014 at 10:23 AM (#4746838)
I am unable to discover if Nick Bakay really is still on ESPN in some capacity. They throw anyone out there on those weekend morning shows, especially when it's not football season.

Norman Chad definitely still shows up. {shudder}
   28. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: July 09, 2014 at 10:33 AM (#4746850)
The consistent misspelling of "minuscule" makes me want to go downtown & shoot people.

Good thing it's too hot outside. And that I don't own a gun. And for that matter have never even held one, if memory serves.

But still.
   29. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 09, 2014 at 10:39 AM (#4746856)
Since MLB Network is only carried on DirecTV and certain (not all) cable systems in a patchwork, it's reasonable to expect it to have limited penetration. Maybe by that measure this is a jackpot of viewers?


It wasn't on DISH Network when it was launched, but it is now.
   30. villageidiom Posted: July 09, 2014 at 11:43 AM (#4746914)
The consistent misspelling of "minuscule" makes me want to go downtown & shoot people.
Mine was a copy and paste job, complete with preservation of a run-on sentence. Not that that excuses me.
   31. eddieot Posted: July 09, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4747132)
So, Lauren Shehadi, Heidi Watney, Kristina Fitzpatrick or Sam Ryan?

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