What sport should I choose to watch tonight, football or baseball?
It’s a rather easy decision to make, according to the Nielsen TV ratings.
Judging by what the ratings say, people are tuning in to watch football in more cases than watching a Major League Baseball playoff game.
I think it’s a shame that baseball is basically being forgotten, and the MLB replaced after over a century and a half of existence.
However, I know there will be tons of people who will disagree with my statement, but the evidence is hard to miss. People are just watching what they like best.
Take, for instance, the Philadelphia Phillies–Cincinnati Reds in game three of the National League Division Series on Oct. 10.
The game, which the Phillies won, received a very good 27.7 rating compared to the Philadelphia Eagles–San Francisco 49ers game airing at the same time, which received a 24.1 rating.
What do all these numbers mean, you ask? Well in the ratings system, a rating is equal to the percentage of the total television households. In other words, out of the sample population of households that have TVs, 27.7 percent were tuned into the game at some point.
This is huge—this is a lot of people. What’s the problem then?
The problem is that these numbers are only from the Philadelphia area, local numbers not reflecting the magnitude of the entire viewership.
Take this number instead: 3.9. This is the rating the Phillies-Reds game received when compared to the national household population. This is three times less than the national rating of the same Eagles game it beat locally.
Now, fans in Philadelphia had their reasons for watching a baseball game rather than a football game. Their hometown team was looking for a series sweep of the Reds, for one.
Another probable reason is the baseball team has had a lot more success in the last four years alone than the Eagles have had over the last couple decades.
Bottom line is, Philadelphians watched baseball more than football on that particular day and time.
Just to get some perspective on how big that game was, the Eagles–49ers game’s national rating of 11.7 is the second-best primetime overnight ratings during the baseball divisional playoffs in eight years, according to philly.com.
The funny thing about football beating baseball is that even the mammoth teams are getting the trash in all this.
Take the Yankees for example. Everybody knows the Yankees, even those who don’t have a clue how baseball is played. The Yankees are synonymous with sports in general.
The Yankees–Twins series managed to get about an average 11 percent rating in the New York area for the three games.
This is a good number, but guess who beat them? The New York Jets, with a rating of 15.8 when they played the Minnesota Vikings a week ago.
Philadelphia is a big city, but when compared to New York, let’s just say there’s a grasshopper and an ant. The market size isn’t that far off, but New York’s size is far bigger.
There are many reasons people watch a sport over another.
Demographics: The interest of the sport may be bigger in certain areas of the country than in others.
Attention spans: Would people prefer watching a sport that is action packed for two and a half hours or a sport that is the same length, but feels 10 years longer? Baseball has recently taken measures to speed up the games, but unfortunately, they still feel like they drag on and on. A couple minutes for each pitch to be thrown can be really difficult for a fan to take in.
Fun factor: Which sport would seem more fitting to watch with many friends? Most of the people I know watch football with friends, having fun. People have Super Bowl parties just to watch the game in a fun environment.
Steroids: This was especially relevant after the findings of the Mitchell Report investigation into steroid use in baseball. Maybe sports fan swayed away from the game due to disillusion of the sport’s once grand stars.
Baseball is a great sport, one that has several great, nail-biting moments. There is a lot of action, more than people can imagine.
A game that has been frequently dubbed “America’s pastime” is becoming America’s afterthought. The game with the bats and balls is not as relevant anymore.
Whatever the reason for the replacement, football is now the talk of the town.