BOB: All Star Game ratings and Cactus League newsby Brian Borawski
July 22, 2009
All Star Game ratings down from lastyYear
As has been the current trend, fewer people watched the All Star Game this year then they did last year. This year’s game drew an 8.9 national rating with a 15 share, which was four percent less then last year’s 9.3 rating and 16 share. The one bright point was the pre-game show, which highlighted President Barack Obama. The pregame show’s ratings were three percent higher then last year’s.
A closer look at the attendance numbers
Two weeks ago, I broke down some of the highlights in the midseason MLB attendance numbers. CNBC’s Darren Rovell took this a step further at his Sportsbiz blog and it’s worth a read. He talks about the overall drop in attendance and there are some charts showing the biggest increases and decreases. The New York Mets have the largest percentage drop, but they’re playing in a smaller ballpark.
The Detroit Tigers have the biggest decrease without a change in venue, but even their numbers may be a bit deceiving. They played an intensive road schedule in the first half when the weather is still chilly so having the bulk of their games at home in the warmer months might give them a boost when combined with their current first place position.
Diamondbacks and Rockies choose new spring training site
The Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies announced last month that they were leaving their Tucson spring training home; the Rockies have a commitment to play in Tucson through 2011 and the Diamondbacks play there through 2012. What wasn’t initially announced was where the two teams were going to move their facilities too.
Late last week, the news finally broke and both teams plan on moving their spring training to a new facility on the Salt River Indian Reservation beginning in 2011. The proposed new complex is supposed to cost over $100 million and it’ll be the first MLB facility that’s built on Native American land. The problem of course is the timing. Tucson is threatening legal action because both teams are trying to get out of their deals early, so we’ll have to wait and see how this develops. The White Sox basically paid $5 million to Pima County to move early, so it’s likely that the Diamondbacks and Rockies will have to pony up as well.
Details of new Marlins ballpark unveiled
The Florida Marlin broke ground at their new stadium, and while we’re nearly three years away from the stadium opening, fans got their first glimpse of what the new ballpark has to offer. First off, the ballpark will have a capacity of just 37,000 and the stadium’s footprint will consist of just 928,000 square of feet of land (the smallest in baseball). Space will limited, but they plan on having a pool and there are also plans for a plaza adjacent to the ballpark that they hope will be a smaller version of New York’s Central Park.
The idea behind the ballpark is to make it look as modern as possible. It will differ from most other recently constructed ballparks, which blend the modern with the traditional.
Brewers push Huntsville on attendance
The Milwaukee Brewers are pushing the city of Huntsville, home to their Double-A affiliate, because of poor attendance. Huntsville is dead last in the Southern League in attendance with just 1,523 fans per game, which is significantly worse than the second worst team's attendance, which stands at 2,202 per game. Attendance has gone down the past three years.
The Brewers have come out and said that if things don’t improve, they’ll break ties with Huntsville after their working agreement expires after the 2010 season. At issue is the fact that Huntsville plays in a dated stadium. Greer Stadium opened in 1978 and while there has been talk of a new ballpark, things have not materialized.
Brian Borawski is a member of SABR's Business of Baseball Committee and writes about the Detroit Tigers at his own website, TigerBlog. He welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail.
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