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Tigers TV ratings drop 22 percent during dismal season

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It’s not as dire as it sounds, though.

Cleveland Indians v Detroit Tigers Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

If a network television series saw a 22 percent drop in ratings from one season to the next, it would be cause for serious concern. Showrunners might lose their jobs, stars might be changed, new storylines written. However, in the world of professional sports, where many teams make their big bucks on selling the local broadcast rights to their games, a 22% drop can still mean you’re one of the highest rated teams in the league.

That’s the case for the Detroit Tigers, who find themselves in the position of having dropped 22%, but are also still in the top-five most watched teams in all of baseball.

In a review of the 29 US-based baseball teams — sorry Canada — the SportsBusiness Journal compared numbers from the 2016 midseason to the same time this year. What the results showed is that baseball fans in the Midwest are not watching as frequently, but are still generally the most voracious consumers of local sports.

MLB Top TV Ratings

Team Local Broadcaster Average Rating
Team Local Broadcaster Average Rating
Royals FS Kansas City 7.69 (-37%)
Indians SportsTime Ohio 7.52 (+29%)
Cardinals FS Midwest 7.06 (-12%)
Orioles MASN 6.06 (-17%)
Tigers FS Detroit 5.42 (-22%)

What this shows us is that even a massive decline in viewership doesn’t mean the team isn’t drawing in fans. The 37% drop for the Royals proves that while numbers may drop as a team distances itself from championship seasons, there are plenty of fans still remaining. And the St. Louis Cardinals numbers prove that for some franchises there will always be fans around to watch. The Cardinals dropped 12% this season and 19% last season, but are still third in all of baseball. The Cleveland Indians, who made it to the World Series last year, were actually the only team in the top five to gain viewers, surging ahead 29%, and that shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Ultimately, what the drop shows is that in spite of the Tigers not having the same viewership they did last season, people are still watching. Regardless of the losses, and the potential trades, people will keep watching. And compared to the paltry numbers the Los Angeles Dodgers bring in (1.48 which is actually up 24%) the Tigers are actually dominating in terms of overall views.