This was a foregone conclusion, but for posterity, here are the details. Game 5 of the NLDS against the Cardinals was the most-watched Nats game locally since baseball returned to D.C. in 2005. By a lot.
The game earned a 16.7 rating in the Washington television market, 84 percent higher than the rating for Game 4 the previous night. (That night of the Werth walk-off homer was, of course, the previous most-watched Nats game in this market.) The 16.7 equates to about 394,000 local households.
Just three short years ago, you’ll recall, the Nats were averaging 14,000 households a game for their MASN/MASN2 broadcasts. That means this single playoff game attracted about 28 times the average audience from 2009, a group equal to more than 15 percent of the total yearly TV audience for the ’09 season.
If you run it back even further, to the summer of 2008, the Nats’ average household TV audience in this market was about 9,000, meaning you’d need more than 43 games to equal just the TV audience from Game 5.
As for other comparisons, the most-watched Caps broadcast of the Ovechkin era earned an 8.63 rating in this market. A typical Redskins game this season has been in the mid-20s.
The Nats-Cardinals Game 5 was also the most-watched Division Series broadcast in the D.C. market since at least 1998, smashing a 1999 ALDS game between the Red Sox and Indians that earned a 12.2 rating on Fox.