The Phillies Led Major League Baseball in Local TV Ratings… But They Didn’t Beat the Eagles on Sunday

The Phillies are really, really popular.

According to the Sports Business Journal, the Phillies led all Major League teams in local ratings, finishing with a 9.1 rating on CSN, up 10.5% from last year. In second place? The Cardinals. They carried a 9.0 local rating – in the greatest baseball city in the country, St. Louis – thanks in part to their late-season Wild Card battle with the Braves.

[Sports Business Journal]

Still, the Phillies saw their ratings rise by 11 percent, an amazing ninth consecutive season of ratings growth. During that period, Phillies ratings have grown a stunning 176 percent. The average 276,000 homes that watched each Phillies game was second only to the New York Yankees this season.


Keep in mind, the New York market has more than double the households of Philadelphia (7.5 million to 3 million).

Now you know the Phillies are the most popular Major League team (at least locally), but are they the most popular team in the city. Is this a baseball town?

Not quite.

On Sunday, the Eagles-49ers game on FOX received a 27.5 rating in Philadelphia. The Phillies-Cardinals game on TBS? 21.9 (21.4 in St. Louis, where the Cardinals beat the Rams, who had an 18.9 rating).

But there are a few things to consider. 

Football usually crushes baseball in ratings. In other cities where both the football and baseball team played on Sunday, the delta was much larger than it was in Philadelphia. In Milwaukee, 44% of households watched the Packers-Broncos game. Only 20% watched the Brewers-Diamondbacks game. In Phoenix, only 5.7% of households watch the Diamondbacks play, but 21.5% watched the Giants-Cardinals football game. There’s also the cable-broadcast thing, which has a slight effect on viewership.

As expected, the Phillies 21.9 rating was the highest local rating among baseball cities on Sunday: [Sports Business Journal]

Tigers-Yankees Game Two earned a 2.3 overnight earlier in the day (Detroit 13.1 local, N.Y. 7.2 local), while D’Backs-Brewers Game Two earned a 1.6 overnight (Milwaukee 5.8 local, Phoenix 5.7 local).


Perhaps Philadelphia is not quite yet a baseball town (see: yet)… but the Phillies are damn popular.


23 Responses

  1. I judge by what I see around town. Everywhere you go people are wearing Phillies shirts. very rarely do I see Eagles green unless its Sunday.
    BTW..When was the last time some moron called up sports talk radio and did an Eagles chant. 2007???

  2. As you said the cable/network can be a factor.. Also a Sunday at 1 PM is much better than a Tuesday at 5

  3. Would you not also need to consider that one game is on Cable, while the other is on broadcast TV?
    I think a better metric would be checking ratings when the Phillies are on Fox (should they make it to the NLCS) as compared to the Eagles.
    While TBS is basic cable, it’s cable none the less.

  4. I was at a wedding two weeks ago and there was an EAGLES chant. What do you expect from South Jersey though?

  5. Clearly – I did a great job reading the whole thing since you mentioned cable.
    But still…
    I would agree with the above comment that I see a TON more Phillies gear than Eagles – and thats been for a few years.

  6. I mentioned that in there. Also think that a lot of people watched the Eagles game the way people watch a train wreck. Just because more people saw them, doesn’t mean more people like them. I couldn’t find a factor for how much cable impacts ratings, if anyone can, please let me know and I’ll work it in.

  7. I’m sure they’ve figured out ways to correct for this in ratings tabulations, but I’ve always wondered about the sports bar factor too. For playoff games it seems a lot more people are out at public places, which may cause ratings to skew lower than they actually are.
    Sunday 1pm football games are probably watched at home more than any other scheduled game time for football, so that would inflate ratings a little the Eagles.

  8. The Phillies game was also in the evening. How many people could have been out at bars while people aren’t ready to start drinking at 1 PM? I know the local bar I watch sports games at was packed for the Phillies that night and dead for the birds.

  9. Fat Boy, Howie, Banner & Lurie killed the eagles fans morale. Hey Andy, you need somewhat sevicable LB’s & safety’s to win in the NFL. You fat F**k

  10. While I still think Philly leans a little towards football as it’s favorite sport, that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is a great baseball town and always has been. I don’t understand why some people seem hell-bent on convincing others that baseball is #1. Really….who cares? Are the Phils more “popular” than the Eagles right now? If they are, it’s because of the performance of the team. If the Phils were to lose the next two games and the Eagles beat Buffalo, watch that change. Let’s enjoy it….it’s ok to love both sports.

  11. The bar thing is a fair point, but it really only hurts sports in comparison to other things (because so many people congregate to watch). I don’t believe bars are included with Neilson, so really, all sports numbers would be higher. I’d imagine the difference between baseball and football is negligible, though.

  12. Bars are included, it’s time for the Phils to push for thier own cable channel when this current tv deal runs out similar to YES so they can continue to compete moving forward.

  13. I believe it definitely has to do with the time slots. 1 PM Eagles games on a Sunday afternoon will draw all the die hards along with the casual fan as there is not much else going on Sunday at 1 during football season. However, a Phillies late game to end the weekend (after a long day for many Eagles fans) I don’t think will ever draw as much. Add in that you will lose viewership to Sunday evening TV and wont draw as many “casual fans” as they wouldn’t mind picking up the game already in progress after their show if they dont DVR it and you have another factor.
    The best metric I think would be a Phillies Saturday night Prime time and the Eagles FOX game of the week.

  14. this isn’t rocket science
    the Eagles have a diverse following
    the Phillies (for the most part) do not

  15. I think you’re still understating the cable vs broadcast TV effect. It’s more than a ‘slight’ effect unless that was sarcasm. That’s an insanely high rating for a cable channel on a Sunday night. I’d wager this is a baseball town in October more than a football town all told.

  16. JMac you may want to pick up the new issue of Sports Illustrated to read all about the Phillies diverse following.

  17. the eagles are 1-3 and probly not making the playoffs. the phillies are on the verge of their 4th straight NLCS berth and the flyers season is about to start with a national broadcast. dont be surprised if the birds drop to third in the ratings this coming week. especially if the phils and flyers both take care of business.

  18. All I can say is my opinion, and me personally i dont make it a point to watch the eagles this season. where as i organize my schedule around phils games! and i think it just speaks volumes to the two different directions of the franchises. The phillies make big moves, but unlike the eagles, the big moves are the right move for the phils. The eagles get big names for the sake of getting big names(like the red sox or mets). The eagles are falling into an NBA type team. Where as i mean that the NBA pushes all flash no substance. Nobody watches the NBA to see a guy do 10pts-10rebs. Just look at how Tim Duncan never really got his just respect(one of the alltime greats) but that is what Andy Reid and Co have made the Eagles. A team with all flash and no substance. They dont have the “role players” or the unsung heros or the guys in the trenches, whatever catch phrase you want to use. The eagles have a bunch of high flying impact players(McCoy, DJac, Maclin, Vick, Nnamdi, DRC, Asante, hell maybe even Celek) and nobody that can fucking tackle! no body that can protect a QB, nobody that can stop a TE or RB from going over/thru the middle. The phils make bigger moves but address a NEED, not a WANT/DESIRE. HP3, Halladay, Lee, ROYO, all pieces that fit. The eagles are trying to make square pegs into round holes, and THAT is why this will no doubt about it be baseball town AFTER this season!

  19. Sunday at 1:00 there is nothing else on TV. Even if you’re not watching intently you probably have the game on in the background. Sunday at 8:30 is prime time with much more viable options from many different networks.
    Unless both games start at the same time and have the same availability to all households (both on cable, both over the air) then any comparison is speculative.

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