Despite playing in the frigid Northeast in March and April, the Phillies are one of the few teams that has managed to grow attendance numbers this season.
But so far on television, the results have been more of a mixed bag.
Through Sunday, Phillies games were averaging a 3.61 rating on NBC Sports Philadelphia, roughly equating to about 103,000 households. That’s down about 5 percent compared to the same time last season.
But on the positive side, among adults ages 25 to 54, the games posted a 1.53 rating in the Philadelphia market, a 15 percent increase over this time last season. On the streaming side, the Phillies also have averaged 10,300 unique devices per game, up a whopping 172 percent through the same point last season.
Nationally, Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN has gotten off to a slow start, with its first four games down in ratings and viewership compared to last season. But last Sunday’s matchup between the New York Yankees and the Anaheim Angels, which didn’t have any competition from the NBA playoffs, delivered a 1.8 rating, easily ESPN’s highest-rated baseball game so far this season.
MLB’s experiment with airing exclusive games on Facebook has also proven to be a limited draw. The broadcasts have averaged between 65,000 and 85,000 concurrent viewers over the league’s first three games, according to data obtained by the Inquirer and Daily News. The league’s Facebook experiment is in its infancy, but those numbers are far lower than even the lowest-rated baseball game aired on television.
Sixers ratings up big
Meanwhile, the Sixers’ 117-101 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals was a big draw on TNT. The game drew 4.7 million viewers nationwide, an increase of 31 percent versus last year’s Cavaliers-Raptors game. The game was also the most-viewed program on cable Monday night.
Not surprisingly, the game also had monster ratings in the Philadelphia market, drawing a 12.4 rating (more than 355,000 households).
Game 2 will air on TNT on Thursday night, with Brian Anderson and Kevin McHale once again pulling broadcast duties, along with reporter Ros Gold-Onwude. Game 3, which will take place Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center, will air on ESPN. Dave Pasch and Doris Burke will be broadcasting the game, with Cassidy Hubbarth reporting court-side.
So far, the NBA playoffs have been a big draw across cable television. According to Sports Business Daily’s Austin Karp, across the entire first round, ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, TNT and NBA TV averaged 3.15 million viewers per game, drawing the best ratings since 2014 and an increase of 2 percent compared to last season.
Through 15 telecasts, ABC and ESPN are averaging 4.1 million viewers per game, up 5 percent compared to last year. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ Game 7 win over the Indiana Pacers delivered a 4.5 rating and 6.8 million viewers, making it the most-watched first-round Game 7 ever to air on ABC.
At TNT, the playoffs have generated the network’s most-watched first-round coverage since 2004. The 23 games aired on TNT have averaged a 2.3 rating and 3.6 million viewers, up 10 percent and 5 percent, respectively, compared to last year. Game 4 between the Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers was the most-watched first-round game since 2002, drawing 6.1 million viewers.
NBC Sports Philadelphia also drew huge ratings with its coverage of the Sixers’ first playoff run in six years. Despite also airing on TNT, the Sixers’ Game 5 victory over the Miami Heat delivered an 8.5 household rating (roughly 244,000 households), the network’s highest-rated broadcast in nearly 16 years.
During the regular season, the Sixers averaged a 2.4 household rating on NBC Sports Philadelphia, the highest since 2011-12 and up 45 percent over last season.