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Tigers, Fox Sports Detroit make huge TV gains

Justin Verlander wasn't the only must-see in Detroit this season, as the Tigers made big grounds among fans with their Fox Sports Detroit broadcasts.

Leon Halip - Getty Images

You love them. You really, really, really love them.

We were a bit caught up in covering a Central Division title and a Triple Crown this week, so this news kind of slipped through the cracks, but it's important to note that the Tigers have been a TV star in the metro area.

According to Sports Business Journal, Fox Sports Detroit had the best ratings of any of the networks that cover baseball's 30 teams. Ratings jumped more than 41 percent to a 9.13 score. That put the Tigers ahead of the Reds, Cardinals, Pirates and Red Sox in the top five.

The Tigers' audience averaged 168,000, an improvement of 37 percent above last season. The Tigers had a larger average audience than any team outside the New York area.

Senior VP and general manager of Fox Sports Detroit Greg Hammaren told SBJ:

"A lot of great story lines have captured the attention of Tigers fans this season, and it's reflected in the ratings."

While the folks who deal only in baseball stats poo-pooed the signing of Prince Fielder during the past offseason, it was important to note that baseball teams think in broader terms than what goes on the back of a ballcard. Fielder -- as well as Detroit's first Central Division title, of course -- helped put the Tigers above 3 million fans in attendance this year, and it helped make the Tigers must-watch on television. When it's time to negotiate a new contract, the Tigers' ability to deliver numbers like those ought to pay off in a big way.

Related, we also learned last week just how popular Tigers' merchandise is.

Justin Verlander (ninth), Prince Fielder (15th) and Miguel Cabrera (19th) all had jerseys among the top-20 most-popular according to the MLB, via MLive. Only the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have that many players among the top 20.