In 2022 the Cincinnati Reds lost 100 games. And with all of that losing, and with trading away anything that wasn’t nailed down in spring training or at the trade deadline, there weren’t a lot of reasons to tune in to games. Cincinnati didn’t exactly inspire a lot in the offseason, or spring training, or even in the early part of the season. But once the club began to call up some rookies in mid-May to early June, the team started to perform, pick up wins, and go on a run to playoff contention that they held until there were only two days left in the year. That made a lot of people turn their television back to Bally Sports Ohio for games this season.
The Sports Business Journal posted the ratings for 29 of the 30 teams in baseball – Toronto’s ratings are not accounted for. Four teams saw their rating increase by more than 35%. All four of them were actually at 65% or higher. Three of the teams with improved ratings make plenty of sense. The Reds were up 65% from 2022. So were the Orioles, who just won 101 games and had the best record in the American League. The Texas Rangers saw the largest increase, nearly doubling their ratings and were up 99% over last season. They won 90 games in 2023 after winning just 68 in 2022.
But the team that had the second largest increase in ratings? The Pittsburgh Pirates. They did get out to a hot start, beginning the season by going 20-9 through April. They didn’t win 20 games in May and June combined and never got close to recovering. Their rating jumped up 72% from 2022, though.
While the Reds ratings were up big time, how did their ratings in their market compare to other teams across baseball? Let’s first talk about where the stood in 2022. Despite the way that year played out, the Reds were actually 11th in ratings across baseball. Don’t confuse that number with viewers – some markets are a lot larger than others and lower ratings can still mean far more viewers.
In 2023 the Reds jumped up to 4th in Major League Baseball ratings with a 4.74 rating. They were only behind the Phillies, Cardinals, and Brewers. Yep – three of the top four teams in ratings come from the National League Central. The Pirates were at #6 as the division flexed their television muscle.
With the right moves this offseason the ratings could go up once again. Fans have already gotten behind – at least on television (though attendance was also up at the park) – this team and have seen some exciting baseball. Imagine the excitement if the club goes out and adds some exciting talent to it.