While there was plenty of good news for Major League Baseball on the ratings front this year, there was also some bad news: national ratings were down on Fox, ESPN, and TBS. Despite the ratings plummeting, MLB managed to wring even more money out of all three networks in the next TV contracts.
Fox's Saturday games have been in a steady ratings decline over the past decade, falling from a high watermark of a 2.7 rating and 3.6 million viewers in 2005 to just a 1.7 rating and 2.5 million viewers in 2012. The primetime slate of games was down 23% in ratings and 24% in viewers from last season, but they still outperformed Fox's Saturday day games, drawing a cumulative 2.0 rating and 3.2 million viewers.
Over on ESPN, the news was pretty bad as well. Sunday Night Baseball drew just a 1.2 rating and 1.8 million viewers, the lowest for the exclusive game since 2005. Sunday Night Baseball was down 20% overall in terms of rating, and 22% overall in terms of viewers. ESPN has lost a million viewers for those games since 2007, when they averaged 2.7 million viewers. Monday Night Baseball and Wednesday Night Baseball also fell in ratings and viewers after a brief uptick last season, dropping to a 0.8 rating and 1.2 million viewers after a 1.0 rating and 1.5 million viewers in 2011. That comes out to another drop of roughly 20%.