The Royals had the second-largest decline in local TV viewership in baseball, according to reporting from Sports Business Journal, with a 30 percent drop in ratings, behind only the Chicago White Sox. The Royals tied a club record with 106 losses, their third 100+ loss season in the last six years. These numbers seem to reflect traditional television ratings without including streaming numbers on Bally Sports+. Overall, the Royals had a TV rating of 2.60, which was still the 15th-highest out of 30 teams. Royals local TV ratings have historically done well in the Kansas City metro area, even in poor seasons.
This year, Royals fans were also hindered by the availability of Bally Sports Kansas City, which is owned by Diamond Sports, a subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcasting. Diamond Sports has been unable to work out agreements to make their regional sports networks available on many popular streaming platforms, including Youtube TV, Sling TV, and Dish Network. They did roll out a direct-to-consumer streaming option at a cost of $19.99 per month, and the number of subscribers to that platform have not been released.
Diamond Sports filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, and this summer a federal judge ordered them to make full payments to teams. MLB has already reclaimed the TV rights for the Diamondbacks and Padres after Diamond missed a payment and may seek to recover rights for the remaining teams covered by Diamond. Viewership for the Padres held strong after MLB took over the rights and made games available on more platforms.
While national broadcasts for baseball continue to lag, local TV broadcasts improved this year, with 17 teams experiencing a rise in viewership. The Texas Rangers had the biggest bump, nearly doubling their ratings after they improved by 22 wins and made the playoffs for the first time since 2016. The Pirates and Orioles also experienced large increases - the Orioles won an American League-high 101 games and made the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
Joining the Royals and White Sox in ratings declines where two teams who disappointed after expecting to contend - the Mets and Cardinals. Across the state, Cardinals fans tuned out the last place club, with a 27 percent drop in ratings.