It wasn’t the ending Royals fans wanted this year, but they still tuned in to watch their team in strong numbers. Royals local television ratings in prime time were down 26% over last year’s numbers, but still the second-best in baseball, according to Nielsen data obtained from Forbes magazine. On average, the Royals drew an 8.46, or 78,000 households per night, which was good enough to be the top draw on cable in the area. The Royals, who led all of baseball in local TV ratings in 2016, finished only behind the first-place Cleveland Indians this year.
The biggest increases in viewership around baseball came from teams in contention. The Yankees, Rockies, and Dodgers all saw significant jumps in ratings, as those teams made their way to the post-season. The Marlins and Tigers had the biggest drop, as baseball in Detroit took a nosedive in the second-half of the season.
Overall MLB ratings in prime time were down 6%, however overall ratings on just Fox Sports regional sports networks like Fox Sports Kansas City, was up 5%.
The Royals have proven consistently over the last few years that they are a ratings winner, even if the team is only semi-competitive. Currently, the club is locked into one of the worst television deals in baseball, paying them around $20 million per season, a deal that expires after 2019. A potential rebuild could change that equation, although the market size of the Kansas City area may be a more important factor.
Either way, Kansas City fans have been tuning in to see their favorite stars - Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Lorenzo Cain. Will they continue to tune in once they’re gone?