The Royals may not make the post-season this year, but they will take home the crown for highest television ratings in Major League Baseball this year, according to data released from Nielsen. For the second year in a row, Royals fans tuned in more than any other fanbase, with an average prime-time rating of 11.70. The number actually represents a 10% drop-off from last year when the team had a rating of 12.98 during their world championship season.
Overall, Major League Baseball’s ratings on regional sports networks is strong, up 1% over last year. Fifteen clubs saw an increase in local ratings with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs representing the biggest increase. Interestingly, the data also shows fans tuning in to see their local broadcasters even when their game is broadcast nationally on ESPN.
The Royals set a record for highest television ratings for a game this year when they beat the Yankees on August 29, drawing a 18.4 household rating. The previous record was set earlier this season against the Rays on June 1.
Ratings represent a share of the television market, with Kansas City having just under a million TV-watching homes, according to Nielsen’s numbers. Kansas City has a deal with Fox Sports Kansas City that runs through the 2019 season. Fox Sports Kansas City currently goes to 1.6 million homes, the smallest distribution in baseball. The contract is considered one of the worst in baseball, paying the Royals around $20 million per season with no ownership stake for the club.