Blue Jays Audiences Up 17% in 2011

And now a press release from Sportsnet detailing the amazing and surprising surge from the Blue Jays this year. Not in the standings obviously, but in TV ratings. The Jays made incredible gains on Canadian football as the top summer sports property in Canada.

Toronto Blue Jays audiences reached new heights this season on Rogers Sportsnet with an average television audience of 507,000 (2+)*, the network’s highest-season average ever.

Jays on Sportsnet audiences were up 17 per cent compared to the 2010 average of 437,000 viewers. The 2011 season opener is the biggest Jays audience in the network’s history as 976,000 (2+) tuned in for the Jays’ 13-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins. In addition, Sportsnet’s biggest audience this season for a West-Coast start (10 p.m. ET) was 527,000 (2+) as viewers tuned in for Canadian Brett Lawrie’s first game played just outside his native Vancouver, against the Seattle Mariners on Aug. 15.

According to BBM Canada, through the end of the 2011 season, Sportsnet attracted an average audience of 100,000 in Adults 18-34, compared to an average of 86,000 over the same period last year, while Men 18-34 averaged 64,000 viewers, compared to 55,000 last year.

Sportsnet’s top five Blue Jays audiences for the 2011 season are as follows:

Friday, April 1 – Minnesota @ Toronto (976,000)
Friday, Sept. 2 – Toronto @ New York Yankees (742,000)
Saturday, Aug. 6 – Toronto @ Baltimore (730,000)
Sunday, April 3 – Minnesota @ Toronto (729,000)
Monday, May 16 – Toronto @ Detroit (723,000)

* Source: BBM Canada (Data is unconfirmed and numbers are subject to change)

8 thoughts on “Blue Jays Audiences Up 17% in 2011

  1. I have a question about ratings measurement, Josh. This press release says that the Jays averaged over half-a-million viewers this season. Meanwhile, here’s a Sports Business Daily piece about the local MLB tv ratings leaders in the US: http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2010/07/20100726/This-Weeks-News/Red-Sox-Lose-RSN-Ratings-Lead.aspx

    The graph at the bottom of the page shows that Philly, one of the highest-rated teams in the US, averages 212,000 viewers per game.

    Am I really understanding it correctly, that the Jays more than doubled the average audiences in the hottest baseball markets in the US?

    (I mean, I understand that Jays’ territory takes in the entire country, but still, the Phillies and the Cardinals have been playoff-bound the whole season while the Jays were out of it the last couple of months or so. If those numbers are measured the same way, then that’s pretty remarkable.)

    • Sportsnet is using total viewers (2+), which, as I understand it, assumes that for every TV that is on, two people are watching. SBD is just using total households, which only counts the number of TV watching (and not how many people are watching each TV). So double the US numbers to get something somewhat comparable to Sportsnet’s numbers.

      • So even accounting for that, the Jays have one of the highest-rated local broadcasts in MLB, correct? That’s pretty impressive. Imagine what a team that was competitive into September could do.

      • And one other thought: That sort of illustrates the difference between the CFL and Jays as the summer programming staples for the competing networks. The Jays are higher-risk (if they had a terrible team that was 20 games out at the all-star break, it would be a bad summer for Sportsnet), but high-reward. The CFL is just pretty consistent, and it doesn’t really matter who’s winning and who’s losing (outside of maybe the Roughriders, who are the only team that can significantly move the needle in the league), the numbers will usually be good but not great.

        • And the thing about the Jays, they play 6 times a week, compared to 4 CFL games. Plus the CFL and Jays only play on the same night about 3 times a week (obviously sometimes its 2, sometimes its 4). So, the Jays usually have the top rated sports program 3-4 days a week during the summer.

      • BBM moved from the set top boxes to PPM devices in 2009. Now, everyone in the sample is given a device that picks up TV signals and records what channel they are watching. Another issue is that I think the SBD numbers are strictly local market audiences only (ie someone watching NESN in Maine is not included in the Red Sox total).

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