Exciting postseason draws poor television ratings

The 2012 MLB postseason has continued the trend of poor viewership despite thrilling on-field action. Professors diagnose the problem and evaluate the effects of the numbers on networks and advertisers.

Clemen: MLB postseason viewership remains low through many exciting games. Professor Max Utsler explains the reasons for this and how it affects advertisers.

Utsler: It isn’t related to sports at all, it’s just the fact that we have a fractionalization of the T.V. audience we just keep adding more and more and more and more channels.

Utsler: Also we have a lot more viewership methods that we can get our T.V. through things like Netflix and Hulu.

Utsler: A lot of sponsors and advertisers buy on the basis of how many thousands or millions of people are going to be watching. So they would use that as their leverage to negotiate a lower spot rate. On the other hand, these sports teams, sports leagues or networks would come back to them and say “well now wait a minute. Yeah you’re right there maybe the overall numbers are down, but you know one thing. You know that the people who watch these sporting events are going to be watching in real time they’re not going to DVR them so you get a better quality audience viewing your commercial spot if you stay with sports.”

Clemen: Professor Suzanne Shaw uses other media to follow baseball.

Shaw: I use several sources. During the season I watch MLB.com a lot and then I also use USA Today.  One of the reasons I like USA Today is I like the Tuesday, where they have stats for all the players.


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