UPDATE: Phillies are 1st in Attendance, 2nd in TV Ratings, and… 7th in Popularity

Huge thanks to the DC Sports Blog for tipping us off to these rankings. The Sports Business Journal released it's annual midseason ratings report. The Phillies finished second with an 8.87 average local TV rating. That was just behind the St. Louis Cardinals, who came in with a 9.06 average rating. It should be noted here that there is essentially nothing to do in the Midwest other than farm and enjoy the unfunny stylings of Larry The Cable Guy (I'm generalizing).

The Phillies rating is up 29% from last year (!!!). That's impressive considering that their popularity is nothing new. One explanation for that? Cliff Lee. Magical steed, yo.

The Phillies are also second in total household viewership. On average, 268,000 households tune into every Phillies game. Only the Yankees have a larger audience, with an average of 308,000 households per game. That's incredible considering the fact that the New York market is more than twice the size of Philly (7.5M households to 3M).

It gets better.

According to ESPN, the Phillies are first in attendance… ahead of the Yankees. They have an average attendance of 45,482. That's 104% of capacity, easily the highest in baseball.

Where does that put them in terms of popularity? Seventh.

In the latest Harris Poll, which surveyed over 2,000 people between June 13th and June 20th, the Phillies finished seventh in voting. That's down from fourth last year. I know a relatively small sample size is usually indicative of a larger audience, but this makes no sense. The poll puts – in order – the Yankees, Red Sox, Braves (???), Cubs, Dodgers, and Mets ahead of the Phillies. 

Yeah, they should find a new group to sample.

Just to shed a little light, I worked for the MLB Shop a few years ago. Part of my daily routine was to pull numbers of top selling items, teams, styles, etc. The Phillies were routinely between 4 and 7 on the list. This was in 2008 and 2009. Their popularity has only grown. [In case you're wondering, Derek Jeter always had the most popular selling jersey- it wasn't even close.]

Before you go getting all up in arms over the popularity poll, remember that a very small group of people were surveyed. I'd put more stock in the TV ratings and attendance figures, which are just incredible. 

UPDATE: Per CSN, the Phillies have set a ratings record for the network:

So far this season, Phillies games on Comcast SportsNet are averaging an 8.8 household rating (267,000 households) through 47 games, a 22% increase over last season’s first-half 7.2 ratings average.


Almost exactly what was reported by the Sports Business Journal.

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16 Responses

  1. Oh, nevermind. I thought the rating of 7th was based on something tangible, not on the opinions of a small sample size of goons on the street.

  2. Well, the Phils are number one with a bullet in the only stat that matters to me—-BEST RECORD IN BASEBALL! Word up!

  3. i’m willing to bet the marlins might have been number 8 on that “popularity survey” they put together there.

  4. lol, I’d love to know where in the blue hell they got those 2,000 randoms for that survey. The Cubs and Mets’? Really? Funny stuff right there. I don’t know how you can pass that off as legit. Anyone who reads that will have enough interest in it to know it’s laughable.

  5. Sample is drawn entirely demographically. I would bet the Astros are unusually high simply because of the size of Houston. Boston is smaller than philly by a little but the sox are extremely popular.

  6. Shouldnt be the big of a surprise that the CUBS and METS are up there. They both have a long history and fans all over the country. It IS surprising that we arent a little higher though.

  7. I’m not surprised though. Most baseball fans in places that aren’t Philly are frontrunners. Most Braves/Red Sox/Yankees/Mets/Dodgers/Cubs/Reds/Giants/etc. fans, especially in places that aren’t their hometown, are frontrunners. The Phillies don’t have a frontrunner fanbase because their success is so recent. On the ESPN attendance link, if you highlight home attendance the Phillies are first by far, but if you look at away PCT, the Phillies are 10th. I suspect that that number gets dragged down by playing in the same division as the Marlins (17,101 average home attendance), the Nats (23,391) and even the Braves (28,123) and Mets (30,153) compared to, say, the NL central. If anything, we’re busy beefing up the road numbers of the other 4 teams while they’re dragging ours down. But with that said, the Phillies still aren’t top draws anywhere besides Philly…unless you count our fans turning the stadiums of any given opponents red on a nightly basis.
    Honestly, it’s more a referendum on baseball itself than on the Phillies. Nobody can afford tickets or keep interest in a 162 game season except for us. Because we’re fucking insane. National passtime? Sike.

  8. Being from around Spokane, I finally got to see a Phils game in Seattle and Safeco was a sea of red. I’ve been a fan since the big colapse of ’64.

  9. Phillies fans are front-runners. They used to have one of the worst attendances in baseball until they got good.

  10. @GoEagles4567 When we were never making the playoffs and there was never anything to play for we didn’t fill the ballpark. The Phils didn’t put out a good product and people didn’t go, but that is true in any city. When teams play poorly people would much rather spend their money elsewhere.

  11. I think many are upset at necessarily incongruent facts. Attendance and tv viewership (in large part) are a very local phenomena. How and why would anyone expect a national survey to mimic these favorable Phillies ratings? Do you really expect someone in Portland, OR to rank the Phillies his or her favorite team just because a ton of Delaware Valley folks flock to CBP or watch them on tv? All baseball, like politics, is local. It is a meaningless survey.

  12. Braves make sense because of the old TBS days. 2,000 is not a large enough sample size to accurately judge something with 30 potential options.

  13. Yeah, not just TBS but also because the Braves are popular throughout the South. Fans eight hours away in TN or something don’t go to many games and probably don’t even get local TV coverage but they’d still rate the Braves as their favorite team.

  14. Phillies fans are front-runners. They used to have one of the worst attendances in baseball until they got good.

  15. Looks like the Blue Jays are not included in your polls, since the Jays average is around 500,000 household viewers per broadcast of Jays games on Sportsnet.

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