Major League Baseball games ranked among the top three of all programming during primetime in 17 of the 29 DMAs that are home to clubs in the United States during the 2014 regular season.
The games of 11 MLB squads ranked first in primetime in their home markets from the start of the season on March 31 through the campaign’s conclusion on Sept. 28, according to Nielsen data.
Moreover, games of six other MLB teams placed either second (two) or third (four) over the aforementioned span.
Regional sports networks were the primary homes for the teams’ contests, with the group presenting an average of 148 MLB games per season, most from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., when TV viewing is at its greatest.
The games leading their way primetime during the 2014 season in their respective DMAs were: Detroit Tigers (FS Detroit); Pittsburgh Pirates (Root Sports Pittsburgh); St. Louis Cardinals (FS Midwest); Kansas City Royals (FS Kansas City); Cleveland Indians (SportsTime Ohio); Baltimore Orioles (MASN); Milwaukee Brewers (FS Wisconsin); Seattle Mariners (Root Sports); San Francisco Giants (CSN Bay Area); Boston Red Sox (NESN); and Arizona Diamondbacks (FS Arizona). (See full list below)
Not surprisingly, six of the teams on the above list made the 2014 postseason – Tigers, Pirates, Cards, Royals, O’s and Giants. For their part, the Brewers, Indians and Mariners were in the playoff hunt deep into the season. Only the Red Sox and Diamondbacks were out of contention early.
Cincinnati Reds and Tampa Rays games placed second in the respective DMAS, while telecasts involving the Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, San Diego Padres and Atlanta Braves ranked third.
In the case the Yankees on YES Network, the Bronx Bombers' telecasts topped the MLB lists with a 3.41 rating and 254,000 households. However, those totals were behind WABC and WCBS in the New York DMA.
The games of nine other clubs ranged from fourth through seventh in their markets. CSN Chicago was 11th with its White Sox coverage, compared with a sixth-place finish with the Cubs in the Windy City.
The only two MLB teams in the U.S. outside the top 11 during primetime in their local market were the Astros and Dodgers. Those teams are televised on RSNs that suffered from limited distribution. The Toronto Blue Jays play in Canada and are not rated in this country.
2014 MLB GAME RANKINGS IN PRIMETIME
FOX Sports Detroit
FOX Sports Midwest
FOX Sports Kansas City
MASN / MASN2
FOX Sports Wisconsin
CSN Bay Area
FOX Sports Arizona
FOX Sports Ohio
FOX Sports North
FOX Sports San Diego
FOX Sports South / SportSouth
MASN / MASN2
FOX Sports West
FOX Sports Southwest
San Fran / Oak / San Jose
FOX Sports Florida
Source: Nielsen data, spanning 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. from March 31 through Sept. 28, 2014