The Redskins’ traditional dominance in places like Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties hasn’t stopped the Ravens from expanding their television reach this year. A preseason deal with Washington’s ABC affiliate and a growing programming arrangement with CSN will bring more Ravens content to more Washington-area viewers, and, the Ravens hope, continue to enlarge their fan base.
“What we’re really trying to do is fight for young fans, and fight for new people moving into the [Baltimore-Washington] area,” Ravens President Dick Cass said this week. “The Redskins have been here forever; right now their brand is stronger than our brand. They have a larger fan base than we do. We’re just fighting to grow our fan base.”
Ravens Coach John Harbaugh has previously boasted that his franchise is converting younger fans in the Washington area and joked about taking over the District, although he retreated somewhat when asked about that this week.
“That’s not really my area, but I’m told there are a lot of young people that really like the Ravens in this area,” he told reporters. “We want to build on that. We could take all the help we can get. We want as many fans as we can get.”
And Ravens officials said this month that they’re not attempting to convert Redskins fans.
“We’re not going after the Redskins . . . we’re not trying to take anything from them,” Ravens Vice President of Corporate Sales and Development Mark Burdett said. “We want to just make sure we’re serving the fans who are looking for us, who actively want to be AFC and/or Ravens fans.”
The Redskins’ dominance in the Washington market is unchallenged. When the two teams’ preseason broadcasts went head-to-head last Friday, the Redskins earned a 13.4 rating in the D.C. market, according to Nielsen overnight figures, while the Ravens broadcast on WJLA got just a 1.4, about the same rating the Redskins achieved in the Baltimore market.
“They have nowhere near the tradition of Redskins fans,” said Washington cornerback Josh Wilson, who grew up in the area and has played for both teams. “But the Ravens have a strong fan base up there. They’re growing and getting kind of that establishment that the Redskins already have.”