Judged on nothing other than things I hear from my friends and Internet buddies, it seemed to me like many more people were paying attention to D.C. United this season, if for no other reason than the presence of Charlie Davies. Judged on television ratings, my impression would seem to be correct.
Last year’s wretched United side averaged just a 0.14 rating through five games on Comcast SportsNet, while this year’s up-and-down club has averaged a 0.62 rating in the D.C. market, which equals an increase of 340 percent. United hasn’t had a higher average rating through five games since 2005, when United was coming off its fourth MLS Cup.
Now, the 0.62 number is still extremely modest — that’s about 15,000 households in this market. But to give just one comparison, in the 2007-08 season, the Caps averaged a 0.57 rating in this market. That was the first playoff year, when people started talking about Rock The Red and all that.
And of these five broadcasts, four have been on Saturdays, which isn’t necessarily a hot day for ratings.
The growth has been even more dramatic among key demographics, with ratings up 495 percent among 18-49-year old men and up 435 percent among 25-54-year old men.
The top-rated game was opener against Columbus, which earned a 0.90 rating, good for about 22,000 households.
Incidentally, The Post’s ombudsman dropped this bombshell over the weekend, in a column about sports coverage in the print edition.
The Post’s proprietary internal studies show that women as well as men are more interested in men’s pro teams and men’s sports generally than they are in women’s teams or women’s sports, and by large margins. Among women and men, interest in the Redskins and football ranks first — way out front — followed by the Capitals, Nationals, Ravens, Wizards and Orioles. The Mystics, D.C.’s women’s pro basketball team, is next, with D.C. United close behind.
The Mystics ahead of United? The Ravens ahead of the Wizards? The Nats ahead of anyone? These are strange, strange numbers to me. I hope to find out more about this soon.