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More Evidence of The Death Of Washington Baseball ?

by @ 11:07 am on August 26, 2008. Filed under Baseball, Sports, Washington Nationals

In July, I noted that the Washington Nationals had the distinction of both the worst record in baseball and the lowest television ratings of any team in Major League Baseball.

Now, it appears that they’re dying on radio too:

The Washington Nationals, last in the National League East and closing fast on a 100-loss season, have attracted the smallest radio following in the major leagues, according to audience research from Arbitron.

How low? So low that even the microscopic numbers reported by the rating service might be too low to be statistically valid.

The team’s broadcasts on the station formerly known as WWWT (107.7 FM and 1500 AM) attracted a cumulative weekly audience of about 26,500 from May through July, the most recent period measured by Arbitron.

The Nationals’ following on radio isn’t even in the same league as teams with similar records, even those in metropolitan areas with far fewer people than Washington.

The Seattle Mariners, for example, had won just two more games than the 46-85 Nationals as of Sunday. But the Mariners attracted 133,000 listeners per week, or about 26,000 per weekday game, through July.

The low figures give the Nationals the unusual distinction of being a team that has far more people watching its games in person (average attendance has been 29,990 per game) than listening to them on radio.

More importantly, it’s a big drop from last year:

[T]he Nationals were a bigger draw on the Bonneville-owned stations last summer. According to Arbitron, the baseball broadcasts attracted an average cumulative audience of 58,700 listeners per week.

Of course, the Nationals were a more competitive team last year, and things could turn around if that changes, but as I asked back in July, what if it doesn’t:

Of course, the numbers we see now could easily change if the Nationals start winning games and contending for the post-season.

That isn’t going to happen this year, though, and it’s unlikely to happen any time in the next several years unless the Lerner family puts its money where it’s mouth is and starts building a team that can actually win games. If they don’t, and the Nationals spend the next 5 years, or longer in the cellar in the NL East, then that crowd of 26,000 at Nationals Park is likely to be alot smaller.

Anyone who doesn’t think that the Lerner family would move the team at that point if a better offer came along is kidding themselves.

One Response to “More Evidence of The Death Of Washington Baseball ?”

  1. [...] noted this summer that the Washington Nationals have the lowest television and radio ratings of any team in Major League Baseball, and some have attributed that to the Nationals’ [...]

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