Things couldn't be going much worse for MLB on Fox broadcasts this year. Heading into this past weekend's primetime contests, all six of the telecasts couldn't draw a 2.0 rating, and three of the six broadcasts all fell below 1.5. Two weekends ago, the slate of games highlighted by Reds-Phillies drew a pathetic 1.2 rating and 1.7 million viewers, down 37% and 42% from Red Sox-Phillies last year in primetime, and 54% and 59% from Red Sox-Yankees in 2011, also in primetime.
But coming out of the first weekend of primetime games, there's good news and bad news for MLB. In the good news department, the league drew 2.2 million viewers for a pretty middling slate of games. In the bad news department, MLB lost the head to head matchup with the NHL. Yeah, that's right: the NHL beat MLB, and it wasn't even close. Saturday night's Blackhawks-Red Wings Game 5 on NBC drew 2.9 million viewers, and picked up a 1.1 rating in the 18-49 demo, compared to just 0.5 for MLB in the same demo.
And when you look at the preliminary overnight rating for the NHL (a 2.0), it looks more and more like MLB on Fox has once again failed to crack a 2.0 rating this season. Considering that this week featured matchups in primetime, that's really not a good sign. Perhaps the shuffling of games to Fox Sports 1 isn't an attempt to enhance the new network, but instead an opportunity to dump a franchise that is seeing its rating tank off of the main Fox mothership.
[TV by the Numbers, Sports Media Watch]