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MLB Network Has 55 Million Subscribers, But Low Ratings Print
User Rating: / 433
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 11 May 2010 00:59

MLB NetworkMLB Network was the largest cable channel launch in history, but until now, it’s been unknown how programming on the network would rate. Now at 55 million subscribers, newly released data from Nielsen Media Research shows that only a small fraction of the subscribers are watching.

According to the SportsBusiness Journal, “MLB Network is averaging less than 100,000 viewers in prime time, making its viewership more comparable to channels like Logo and Military Channel than to ESPN or Versus.”

While programming has been highly praised, including four Sports Emmy Awards last month, “only Fox Soccer Channel averaged fewer viewers in prime time and single day in April.”

Still, according to some analysts, as well as MLB Network’s President Tony Petitti, the slow start is part of growing up saying, “We feel good about where we are.”

For one, regardless of ratings, those 55 million subscribers pull in licensing fees from carriers, as well as solid advertising revenue streams.

How does MLB Network stack up? Select READ MORE to see data from Nielsen Media Research by way of the SportsBusiness Journal

How MLB Network’s most-viewed programs compare with the most-viewed offerings on other networks, both sports and non-sports channels.
Rank MLB Network Date (day) Viewers (000s)
1 MLB: Yankees-Red Sox 4/6 (Tues.) 350
2 “MLB Tonight” 4/6 (Tues.) 343
3 MLB: Angels-Yankees 4/15 (Thurs.) 322
4 MLB: Phillies-Braves 4/20 (Tues.) 204
5 “On Deck Circle” 4/15 (Thurs.) 190

Rank NFL Network Date (day) Viewers (000s)
1 NFL Draft: Day One 4/22 (Thurs.) 1,031
2 NFL Draft: Day Two 4/23 (Fri.) 561
3 “NFL Total Access” (midnight-1 a.m.) 4/22 (Thurs.) 381
Rank Speed Date (day) Viewers (000s)
1 “NASCAR RaceDay” 4/18 (Sun.) 1,030
2 “NASCAR RaceDay” 4/25 (Sun.) 909
3 NASCAR Sprint Cup Qualifying: Phoenix 4/9 (Fri.) 762
Rank Golf Channel Date (day) Viewers (000s)
1 “Live From The Masters” 4/10 (Sat.) 846
2 “Live From The Masters” 4/9 (Fri.) 521
3 “Live From The Masters” 4/11 (Sun.) 519
Rank Fox Soccer Channel Date (day) Viewers (000s)
1 UEFA Champions Lge Qtrfnl: Bayern Munich-ManU 4/7 (Wed.) 252
2 EPL: Tottenham Hotspur-Chelsea 4/17 (Sat.) 228
3 UEFA Champions Lge Qtrfnl: FC Barcelona-Arsenal 3/31 (Wed.) 216

Network Program Date (day) Viewers (000s)
TV1 “LisaRaye” (9:30-10 p.m.) 4/8 (Thurs.) 898
DIY “Indoors Out” (3-3:30 p.m.) 4/18 (Sun.) 409
MILITARY CHANNEL “World At War” (11 p.m.-midnight) 3/31 (Wed.) 349

Source: SportsBusiness Journal

Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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