From now ‘til October, expect a steady stream of “Nationals this/that/other is up by XXX percent” items in this space.
Let’s start with one of the biggest ones: The TV ratings for Nationals broadcasts on MASN, MASN2 and WDCW are up 53 percent year-to-year. That’s no joke.
While MASN declined to provide ratings numbers until the end of the quarter, a source with access to Nielsen data said the Nats are averaging a 2.22 in the Washington market for the MASN/MASN2/WDCW broadcasts, up from 1.45 at this point a year ago.
That’s an average of about 52,400 households in this market. It’s also a higher number than the Caps or Wizards have averaged in recent seasons. (In 2011, for example, the Caps averaged a 1.8 in D.C. for regional broadcasts, while the Wizards averaged a 1.15.)
The team has also had games broadcast nationally on ESPN, and regionally on Fox. Fox Sports’s Lou D’Ermilio recently tweeted that Saturday night’s Orioles-Nats game earned a 3.9 rating in this market, which is the highest ever for a regular season Fox baseball broadcast in Washington.
By the end of last season, the Nats averaged a 1.22. In 2010, they averaged a 1.4 and 33,000 households. In 2009, it was a 0.60 rating and 14,000 households. And it was around this time in 2008 that SportsBusiness Journal reported Nats broadcasts were drawing a 0.39 average rating and an average of 9,000 households in the Washington market.
The source also said that Orioles broadcasts on MASN, MASN2 and WJZ are averaging a 4.55 in the Baltimore market, up 3 percent from last season. That’s equal to about 49,900 households in the Baltimore market.
The Nats and MASN, of course, are embroiled in a dispute about future rights fees.