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MLB Sees Local TV And Streaming Viewership Up Over 4% For 2020

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#1 spycake

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Posted 05 October 2020 - 08:58 AM

Twins local viewership up 9%.

 

Link to the article at Forbes:

 

https://www.forbes.c...0/#36bd03b33dac


#2 Trov

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Posted 05 October 2020 - 01:04 PM

This is no surprise at all, but if MLB plans to parlay it into better contract next year, assuming those are up, I doubt many TV stations will agree.It is natural home viewership was up, because the thousands that would normally be at the game could not go.The best thing they can take out of it is that during the season two other major sports were being played, and yes, MN did not have anyone in those, save the couple wild games.So even more natural local would be higher.  

 

Will this carry over into next year when sports may be back to some level of normal?I doubt it.If people can get back to some level of normal, viewership will go down for two reasons.1 fan back in games so less to watch at home.2 casual fans will be able to do other things for entertainment outside.  

 

I would take very little stock in these numbers at this point.I bet MLB takes away how extra inning rule made this happen or 7 inning DH games, stuff like that. 


#3 spycake

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Posted 05 October 2020 - 02:03 PM

 

This is no surprise at all, but if MLB plans to parlay it into better contract next year, assuming those are up, I doubt many TV stations will agree.It is natural home viewership was up, because the thousands that would normally be at the game could not go.The best thing they can take out of it is that during the season two other major sports were being played, and yes, MN did not have anyone in those, save the couple wild games.So even more natural local would be higher.  

 

Will this carry over into next year when sports may be back to some level of normal?I doubt it.If people can get back to some level of normal, viewership will go down for two reasons.1 fan back in games so less to watch at home.2 casual fans will be able to do other things for entertainment outside.  

 

I would take very little stock in these numbers at this point.I bet MLB takes away how extra inning rule made this happen or 7 inning DH games, stuff like that. 

MLB TV deals aren't renewed annually -- most local ones last for 7+ years, I think. The national TV deals have all been renewed long-term just recently (except maybe ESPN?). So I don't think this data will be much of a factor in that, I just thought it was interesting.

 

That said, I think it's an over-simplification to say that viewership should go up because fans can't go to the ballpark or they weren't able to do anything else this year. There are a lot of factors around this, here are some that come to mind:

 

1. The rate of cord-cutting is accelerating

2. Related to #1, the economy was poor -- many fans were low on disposable income

3. No T-Wolves and not much Wild, but national NBA/NHL broadcasts could cut into the normal TV audience

4. Ballpark fans aren't necessarily TV fans -- I wouldn't assume they'd all switch over, although some portion certainly would

5. Ballpark experiences can normally drive interest in the TV product -- this year, the TV product had to market itself completely

 

And I'm sure there are more.


#4 spycake

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Posted 05 October 2020 - 02:08 PM

It's also interesting to took at the table in the article and consider how it relates to team quality. No surprise to see the Red Sox lose a ton of viewers, for example!

 

The Twins were already quite good in 2019, so their capacity for adding new viewers was probably much lower in 2020 than, say, the White Sox (who added a ton this year but still trail the Twins in total viewership).

 

The Dodgers added viewers by finally getting their TV network carried by some major providers.

 

The Cardinals were the only really competitive team on the list that lost viewers (-4%) -- although there are a few teams that aren't accounted for in the list.


#5 jkcarew

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Posted 05 October 2020 - 04:11 PM

It's interesting to me that the local ratings look decent to good...yet, the league struggled mightily on the national broadcasts, for the most part. Don't know what that means. At some point, they need to figure out the attendance issue, IMO.It's hard for me to imagine that continued rapid revenue growth is sustainable long-term in the face of shrinking attendance. At some point, you run out of customers, even while the platforms proliferate. FWIW, despite the headline numbers for the new Turner and Fox contracts, in reality they reflected a slowing of the rate of growth for those revenue streams. 


#6 spycake

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Posted 05 October 2020 - 04:51 PM

Part of it is just natural. The sport had a few decades of crazy revenue growth (coinciding with cable TV and new stadiums) but that level of growth isn’t sustainable — and that’s okay.

Everyone will keep trying to get more revenue, or at least increase their share of it, of course, but in terms of the sport’s health, it doesn’t really matter if revenue flattens or even contracts a bit.

#7 cardsfan

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Posted 26 October 2020 - 09:08 PM

I watched only a few innings this year. To me it was like exhibition.

#8 biggentleben

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Posted 27 October 2020 - 08:25 PM

If anyone listens to the SABR podcast, Boog Sciambi had an excellent discussion about the television delivery of the game.

 

It likely will be the way the game is delivered primarily at least to begin 2021, so it would be to MLB's distinct advantage to work harder to make the game better to cover and better for the viewer on television.

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