The Cincinnati Reds tv rating for 2017 were up significantly versus the 2016 season. Forbes released the ratings for all of the teams in the US (the Blue Jays ratings were not included). Most teams saw their ratings decline. 17 of the 29 teams were watched less often than in 2016 than they were in 2017. The Reds, despite their poor record, saw their ratings up 19% over 2016. That was the 9th best increase in baseball.

The Reds are in one of the smallest markets in all of professional sports. Their ratings were 17th best in all of baseball, which isn’t bad given how they actually played. With that said, due to the market size, that means that they were 25th in total viewership per game. The team averaged 34,000 viewers per game. The Yankees led the way in total viewers with 286,000 per game. The Indians, who had the best ratings, due to their market size, averaged 138,000 viewers per game.

When we are trying to compare the Reds, with their small market size, to a team like the Indians who are generally considered more of a small market than large market team, it’s still tough. The Indians market has 40% more televisions than the Reds market does. For the Reds to get the same number of eyes as the Indians did in 2017 they would need to get a 16.2 rating. The Indians led baseball with a 9.22 rating. Essentially, it’s going to be impossible for the Reds to ever see those kinds of ratings without an incredible amount of expansion in population in the Cincinnati television market.

A team like the Yankees had nearly the same ratings as the Reds. But due to their market size, it meant that they had 8.4 as many total viewers. The Dodgers had one of the lowest ratings in all of baseball at 1.11, but averaged nearly three times as many viewers as the Reds did, despite the Reds having a rating nearly four times as high. Local tv contracts make and break a teams budget. The Reds are always going to be behind the proverbial 8-ball. Even in the best case scenario where they have the best ratings in baseball, they will still be a middle-tier team when it comes to overall viewership. The Reds having the same 9.22 rating that the Indians led baseball with would have put their overall viewership ranking at 13th in baseball. While that beats the pants off of the 25th that they ranked this year, that’s probably the best case scenario for the organization.

Major League Baseball is eventually going to have to find a way to improve the revenue disparity between the haves and have nots. Right now it’s tough to see how a team in Cincinnati, even if they do everything right, can find a way to spend with the haves. I often hear people point to the Cardinals as a smaller market team that “does it”. And to be fair, the Cardinals certainly seem to be competing every year for as long as most of us remember (slight exaggeration, but you get the point). But if the Reds and Cardinals have the same tv ratings as the Cardinals do this year, it means the Cardinals are getting 42% more viewers. That’s a lot of advertising dollars that the team in St. Louis can ask for that the team in Cincinnati simply can’t.

Fall ball officially begins

Last night the Arizona Fall League got started for the Scottsdale Scorpions. That’s the team that the Cincinnati Reds prospects are on this year. Brantley Bell started at second base, while Taylor Sparks got the starting nod at third. Bell got out to a tough start on the night, going 0-3 with three strikeouts in his first three trips to the plate. In his final at-bat he singled to shortstop and followed up by stealing second base. Sparks went 1-3, was hit by a pitch, stole a base of his own and scored two runs.

The Mexican Winter League also began yesterday. As of right now, only Sebastian Elizalde is in the league among Cincinnati Reds prospects. That may change as the season gets further along. Elizalde is playing with Culiacan once again this year, but they did not play on Opening Night in the league.

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Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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