Fox Sports pushing total consumption as better MLB viewership metric

Wrigley Field in Chicago
Wrigley Field in Chicago (Rdikeman/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Major League Baseball typically doesn’t stack up with other professional sports like the NFL in terms of ratings, but Fox Sports is encouraging the television industry to look at it another way.

According to Sports Business Journal, Fox Sports is leaning away from average viewership and ratings for regular season and postseason games and instead pushing total viewing consumption, which calculates the amount of time spent watching MLB games.

In sample markets including Cleveland and Kansas City, the regional sports networks dramatically outpace other broadcasts in terms of total consumption. In a chart depicting RSN consumption versus entertainment primetime in the Cleveland/Akron market, the Cleveland Indians racked up nearly 3.8 million minutes of total watch time; the second highest in that market was “America’s Got Talent” with 250 million minutes.


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“Each baseball game is over three hours long and we’re doing maybe 150 of them,” Mike Mulvihill, Fox Sports executive vice president of research and strategy, told the publication. He explained that even though shows like “The Big Bang Theory” have much higher average audiences, their limited air time means they don’t amount to nearly as much total consumption.

The total consumption numbers are even more dramatic in larger markets like New York City, where the Yankees total nearly 7 billion minutes watched.

RELATED: Turner claims MLB postseason driving big boost to TV Everywhere viewing

Mulvihill said that total consumption won’t become a metric by which advertising is sold, but he said that the measurement provides a good big-picture view of how Fox compares with competitors like Comcast and Disney.

MLB games can also boost viewership on TV Everywhere platforms. Last year, Turner said that livestreaming coverage of MLB postseason games on its TV Everywhere platforms generated 4.3 million minutes of consumption during the first week of October, up 39% over the year before.

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