Royals fans continue to tune in to watch on Fox Sports Kansas City, but ratings are down 37%, according to The Sports Business Journal. A slow start that saw the Royals go 7-14 in April, coupled with a disappointing end to last season likely accounts for much of the drop off. The decline from last year’s is the biggest drop-off in baseball.
Despite the decline in viewership, the Royals still lead Major League Baseball in local television ratings with 7.69. The Indians, Cardinals, Orioles, and Tigers were also in the top five in local, although many of those teams have seen sharp declines this year as well. According to Awful Announcing, 18 of the 29 U.S.-based teams have seen ratings fall locally, including last year’s champions, the Chicago Cubs.
Interestingly, recent national telecasts for baseball have fared well. The All-Star Game saw an increase in ratings, and the Home Run Derby garnered fantastic ratings, thanks to the star power of rookie sensation Aaron Judge. Judge has also fueled a huge increase in local ratings for the Yankees. National telecasts on Fox, FS1, and ESPN are all up as well.
The Royals have led baseball in local television ratings for the past two seasons. Television ratings are a percentage of market size, and the Royals have one of the smallest television markets in baseball. The Royals have one of the least-lucrative television contracts in baseball with Fox Sports Kansas City, paying them about $20 million per year in a deal that is due to expire in 2019.