With the 2014 Major League Baseball season now underway, hope is springing eternal in baseball towns across the country as the long march toward the postseason has begun. Familiar hometown announcer voices have started filling the radio airwaves, re-kindling the original form of live sports broadcasting over a mass platform, engaging local audiences and bringing them into all of the action of the budding season.
Passion for baseball and the enthusiasm that it translates into for local teams can be a boon for local radio on opening day, as it often draws the largest regular-season listening audience to a team’s hometown flagship radio station. And just as in prior years, the early results that we’ve tracked from Monday’s games around the country reveal some impressive double-digit listening shares for several flagship broadcasters. And those results demonstrate that hundreds of thousands of fans tuned in for the first pitch, stayed with the game through the workday, and listened on the commute home.
What’s also apparent is that fan passion may be the most important factor in determining the ratings for an opening day broadcast—even more so than what time the first pitch was thrown, what the weather was like, and how the team performed.
In order to get a sample of what the audio landscape looked like across the league on Monday, we took a look at the preliminary data for four opening day games for both the visiting and home teams’ flagship broadcast stations.
Radio Listener Trends Across Four MLB Games on Opening Day
|Cubs Flagship||Pirates Flagship||Red Sox Flagship||Orioles Flagship|
|AQH Share 12+||6.6%||26.9%||15.6%||12.8%|
|AQH Share P25-54||4.7%||29.4%||17.6%||11.1%|
|AQH Share M25-54||7.0%||41.1%||25.8%||21.0%|
|AQH Share W25-54||1.8%||16.0%||9.1%||1.3%|
|Cardinals Flagship||Reds Flagship||Giants Flagship||Diamondbacks Flagship|
|AQH Share 12+||24.2%||35.2%||16.4%||7.1%|
|AQH Share P25-54||19.0%||36.3%||20.2%||4.6%|
|AQH Share M25-54||21.8%||46.6%||20.4%||7.2%|
|AQH Share W25-54||16.3%||19.3%||20.0%||1.5%|
|AQH–Average quarter hour.
Source: Nielsen preliminary portable people meter (PPM) data.
So what is the data telling us?
- Air it, and they will come. Some of this year’s best results were more about passion than location. The San Francisco Giants, for example, opened their season on the road and played in the evening. Nevertheless, the flagship Giants station in the Bay area still snagged audience shares in the 20s from both men and women aged 25 to 54.
- Baseball can draw big female audiences in certain markets. San Francisco, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Pittsburgh all drew substantial shares among female fans on opening day. Comparatively female tune-in among women 25-54 in Baltimore, Phoenix and Chicago did not reach the level of the other markets.