Turner’s Numbers Off for MLB Playoffs

Oct 7, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The first round of baseball’s postseason didn’t go well for Turner Broadcasting, which has exclusive rights to the divisional series.
Viewership on TBS slid 25% from last year for the games that were played, and only two of the four series avoided being three-game sweeps, with each of those two series going just four games.
Long, competitive series tend to generate higher ratings and provide networks with more commercial time to sell. TBS will try to make up the shortfall with advertisers during the American League Championship Series, which pits the Boston Red Sox against the Tampa Bay Rays. Fox will broadcast the National League Championship Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers facing the Philadelphia Phillies.
Last year, Turner had a strong first round in the playoffs, but its second-round matchup between the small market Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks drew disappointing ratings.
The League Championship Series usually have higher ratings and generate more revenue for the networks than the first-round divisional series. With the Red Sox, a team with a strong national following, and the Rays, a young team with a Cinderella story, Turner is hoping viewers will tune in. If the series goes six or seven games, Turner will more than make up any financial shortfall from the first round.
In the divisional series, TBS was hurt by having to compete with the vice-presidential candidates debate on Thursday, which siphoned off 70 million viewers. It also suffered from having no team from New York in the postseason for the first time in 13 years.
On top of that, a matchup that promised great drama and high ratings pitting the Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs instead provided two early blowouts and a three-game sweep by Los Angeles.
While falling short of last year, baseball did provide strong viewership numbers for Turner.
By averaging a 2.8 U.S. household rating and garnering 4.28 million total viewers with baseball during the week of Sept. 29, TBS was the top-rated cable network four of the five nights in prime time. It also was tops in adult demos for both prime time and total day for the week.
During the week TBS averaged 4.74 million viewers, which made it the network’s most-watched week since the end of last year’s baseball playoffs.
Most days when it televised postseason baseball, TBS also out-delivered one or more of the broadcast networks in some of the male demos.


  1. Remember when broadcast television aired baseball on a couple of channels way back when and cable was only a factor on weekdays?
    It’s the same thing with basketball. Broadcast airings of playoffs didn’t leave anyone out. If the powers that be ever discover the reason why baseball and basketball aren’t as popular as they used to be, it isn’t because of the hip-hop mentality of the NBA or the steroids era in the MLB. It’s because the general public has no connection to those games anymore outside of those major-league markets because they’re not on readily-availiable outlets like the major broadcast networks, The NBA is all but a cable-only property, and Major League Baseball is almost at that point. NASCAR is also veering close to cable exclusivity, though the first quarter and final quarter of the season are still divided on broadcast television.

  2. Something I just thought of.
    The NFL has a channel, but the core of its games is still on broadcast television, including the playoffs.

  3. Isn’t Phoenix (home to the Arizona Diamondbacks) the 12th or 13th largest market in the country? How can that be considered small? If the Detroit Tigers ever make it back to the postseason (the 11th ranked market), are they going to be considered a small-market team too?

  4. The numbers are off because you have such poor announcers as Chip Carey and Buck Martinez. Carey was so pro-Angel it hurt him when Jason Bay slid across the plate that he lost his tongue. I wrote to TBS hoping that they will not have those two jokes do the ALCS. Unfortunately we are spoiled with Joe Castig, Jerry and Don. I even suggested that TBS use Don for the ALCS, doubt that will happen. Way to go TBS, what great announcers you have.

  5. As bad as the TBS announcers are, it would be far worse to have to sit through Joe Buck and Tim McGarver yet again. With Tim McGarver, all we would hear about was why the Yankees didn’t make the post season and how terrible that is.

  6. Please tbs. Get rid of Chip Caray. What a Moron. He could not be rooting for the Angles any harder than he was.

  7. It’s not just the horrible announcers it’s the late night starts!!! Why are the Red Sox and Tampa Bay games going to be starting at 8:07 for two East coast teams!! It’s all about money and until you start thinking about the fans the numbers will stay down. Be thankful the Red Sox are still in because a Tampa Bay/ Angels series would really kill your ratings!!

  8. Buck Martinez has diarrhea of the mouth.

  9. TBS had lousy ratings? Have any of those rocket-scientists in the advertising dept attempted to figure out WHY? Well let’s see, could it be that no one outside of LA or Boston will sit thru a 5+ hour game unless their fave team was playing? Could it be that a game on the East Coast, your “Feature Game”, started at 8:37? Could it be that Buck Martinez (who should NOT do baseball anywhere) and Chip Carey (who does baseball in nowheresville – Atlanta) are your broadcast team? Any announcer who can’t be NEUTRAL should NOT BE ALLOWED to do national games, especially playoff games. And if I want to “Feed the Middle”, I’ll have more buffalo wings! I guarantee the Angels/Sox was the worst rated, and those two guys are reason. I should have pushed the SAP button.

  10. If the games did start a little earlier the ratings would certainly be better. Chip and Buck are just two motor mouths that go on and on and don’t say anything worthwhile. All meaningless statistics. No fun. And where does Craig get his clothes!!! My God they are horrible. Get Don and Jerry next time.

  11. TBS ANNOUNCERS ARE THE WORST! I had to MUTE my tv and turn the radio on just so I could’nt hear TB Chip and Buck! They don’t know when to shut up! Jeeze…..let the play happen and then talk about it for god sake! ahhhhhhhhh so frustrated! You just lost me as a viewer. I watch the highlights on NESN Sports Desk thankyou.

  12. I liked Caray and Martinez and was glad to not have to listen to Bosox announcers. It was a refreshing change. They gave the attendance which Orsillo never reveals at Fenway plus had another perspective on a game. Caray was not rooting for the Angels. I watched every second and I have no idea where you got that crazy idea. Typical Boston dumbies who vote for every leftie on the ballot so have no idea what to do when they hear someone who is right. TBS did a great job.

  13. My husband and I actually enjoyed Buck Martinez. Thought he was extremely well versed in the game and stats. Forget the rest of em though!!! Missed Remy and Don. It’s all what you’re used to. We didn’t need the attendance #’s, We all know every game is a sell out…sheesh. GO SOX!!!

  14. With so much sports moving to cable, why does CBS still preempt soaps for March Madness NCAA basketball and US Open Tennis? Put that on cable, too, or put it on CBS.com. No daytime weekday sports, especially not on the Friday after Labor day, when NO ONE is home watching!
    Do late-night recaps like you do with golf now.

  15. I agree with the criticism of the TBS announce team, but has anybody considered that part of the problem could be the endless promos and commercials for the very un-funny-sounding Frank Calliendo? The overkill being done on behalf of this guy is almost as bad as Chevy’s saturation bombing of Mellencamp truck commercials from last year.

  16. Chip caray sucks, and should be removed for game 7. He has an orgasm every time the ball is touched, then roots for the Rays for the series.He also called the Rays the Victors in 6th inning of game 5, and then their match up with the Phillies in world series, and then had to be reminded by Martinez that there was more innings to go. No wonder they lose ratings. It’s been so bad that a lot of friends and family of mine, and local bars, are turning sound down and watching with radio broadcast. Much better.
    I like Both teams a lot, But i don’t think there should be biased reporting on a national broadcast of a championship series.

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