What Fanbase Problem? Reds And Rays Among Top 5 Most Watched Teams

Tampa Bay Rays fan

Much criticism was laid at the feet of the fans of the Tampa Bay Rays and Cincinnati Reds this season. Both teams won their respective divisions with more than 90 wins. And yet both teams finished in the bottom-half of Major League Baseball in attendance. The Reds finished 20th in attendance with 25,438 tickets sold per game and the Rays were 22nd at 23,024 average tickets sold.

Many defended the attendance figures, noting that the economy was weak, especially in these areas. And now we have more evidence to support that notion.

According to an industry insider, both teams finished in the top five of local television ratings this season.

MLB Teams with 5 best local TV Ratings

No surprise that baseball-mad cities Philadelphia, St. Louis and Minneapolis-St. Paul would top the rankings. But it is surprising to see Cincinnati and Tampa-St. Petersburg among the top five. Those two teams had higher TV ratings than four playoff teams (Yankees, Rangers, Braves, Giants), all of whom had higher attendance this season than the Rays and Reds.

Meanwhile, there are also some surprising names among the teams with the five worst local TV ratings.

MLB Teams with 5 worst local TV Ratings

Both LA teams are among the top teams in attendance and yet, both are among the bottom five in local TV ratings. The White Sox, another big market team also had some of the worst local TV ratings (I blame Hawk Harrelson).

While those teams have little to worry about. The same can’t be said about the A’s, who rank at or near the bottom of both attendance and local TV ratings.

Still, the real story here are the Reds and Rays. Given the Rangers new TV deal with Fox Sports ($1.5-3.0 billion), these ratings could translate into huge revenue streams for the Rays and Reds when it comes time to renew their TV deals. And as long as the TV ratings continue to soar, both the Reds and Rays could become among the more profitable teams in baseball, despite their attendance struggles.

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