31 January 2006

Now, the TV side

A small blurb about Fox Sports Net ratings was in Monday's Merc. If nothing else, it shows that the Giants' hegemony over the Bay Area market continues. But a closer look reveals that the Giants' top ten games came at the beginning and end of the 2005 season, when the Giants were either contending or had Barry Bonds back, or both. I wonder what the ratings were like when the Gigantes were horrifically bad last June?

Nevertheless, the A's best numbers show that they pull in about half the audience of the Giants. Even the pennant race with the Angels in August and September didn't garner a 3 rating. But a look at other two-team markets shows that this pattern is repeated elsewhere. The Yanks often triple the Mets in cable ratings. The Mets have responded by starting up their own cable network, Sportsnet New York, in hopes of boosting ratings and revenue the way the YES network has helped the Yanks. The Cubs have dominated the Chicago market, though the White Sox World Series win should make them more competitive. LA is the notable exception. Arte Moreno's renaming move and aggressive LA marketing have paid off. Combine that with the Halos' on-field success, and the Angels have pulled even with the Dodgers on cable (and at times even pulled ahead).

Since the A's are locked into a cable deal with Fox Sports Net through at least 2010, the only chance the A's have to expand their audience is through its over-the-air contract, currently with KICU. It would make sense for the A's to leave KICU, which has limited range beyond the South Bay, for a San Francisco-based station such as KRON-4 or the soon-to-be-orphaned KBWB-20. Sooner or later all those Frasier reruns on KRON are going to get old and stale, right? Even if it meant getting slightly lower TV revenue for a couple years, it might be worth it because of the much larger potential audience.


Anonymous said...

I remember a late season game when the a's were still in the hunt for the division title against the angels only drew approx 18K fans at the coliseum. If you take a look at the top fox ratings from this table, you have to assume that this drew about a 2 or so which means that only 65K or so combined tv and stadium fans bothered to watch this pennant race game. This tells me all I need to know about a's fans in the bay area: THERE AREN'T MANY OF THEM!!!!! I regrettfully say that the a's would be better off going to a market that appreciated them far more than we in the bay area do. I'd recommend sacramento where they could draw on these 65K east bay individuals and no doubt pick up many, many more in a market of their own in a growing market like sac-town. They will never be able to make it here in the bay area.

Anonymous said...

wern't there rumors about the A's going to Comcast Sports Net?

tony d. said...

Anonymous #1,
Rewind to the late 80's/early 90's...the Oakland Coliseum was the place to be! The joint was packed! It was also considered one of the better ballparks in the Majors back then (remember the 1986 All Star Game?). Candlestick, on the other hand, was horrid...cold, cavernous, a cooky cutter nightmare. The Giants were lucky if they drew 15K fans per game. Forward to the present, the A's and Giants appeared to have switched "venues" completely. If you're the average baseball fan from the Bay Area (not a hardcore partisan), where would you rather watch a game? The AT&T Taj Mahal by the bay, or the reincarnation of "The Stick" at Oakland? Anonymous, it isn't the market...unfortunately, it's all about the venue and fan experience. Just a little side note...after many day games at the Coliseum last year, our family (from SJ) would wind up eating dinner at Chili's in Union Landing. Would have been nice to walk to a nearby restaurant for a meal, drink (ala SBC). VENUE AND FAN EXPERIENCE MR. ANONYMOUS!

Anonymous said...

Sorry Mr. D. Not buying it. a's are bay area's ugly stepchild that nobody loves or will ever love. Check the ratings and you'll see for yourself. p.s., I don't need to be educated by knuckle-heads who are intent on bending the facts to serve their self-interests.

Devo said...

umm, anonymous ...

what facts are you contending that Mr. D bent? In the 80s the A's did outdraw the Giants and the Coliseum was considered a reasonable venue. Today it is one of only a small handful of duel sport venues still in operation and it houses by far the most financially succesful and best supported team among those with such a poor home.

I suppose in your world accusing others of twisting facts is a suitable substition for actually having facts to base an argument on. I suppose we shouldn't be surprised, given your moniker.

Marine Layer said...

There weren't rumors about the A's going to Comcast in the near future, but rest assured that Comcast will be ready to bid once the A's are free from the FSN contract. Too bad for Comcast that the A's, Giants, Sharks, and Warriors are signed through the end of the decade.

I've said my piece about Sacramento. I'll leave it at that.

Bleacher Dave said...

The A's have more fans than the Giants. We all know that the A's outdrew the Giants over the period that the A's were in Oakland and the Giants at the 'Stick.

The A's continue to annually outdraw the Giants at their respective Fan Fests.

The Giants are able to attract the interest and attendance of those that are not necessarily fans. Their appeal appears to transcend baseball.

They have 2 great, albeit temporary, current draws that transcend the game. Barry Bonds, and the ballpark.

Barry Bonds is bigger than the game, and his name is known by many that couldn't tell ya the difference between a safety squeeze and a drag bunt.

The park is still newish, a temporary situation, but will always have gorgeous views of the Bay.

Teams have to draw more than just baseball fans these days to be financially competitive in the talent marketplace. I believe that's why attendance doesn't seem to correspond to winning % - only fans are interested in seeing good baseball by a first place team.

Those essential non-fans need a hook to get them attend, watch, or listen. That's what the A's lack. They aren't trendy, they don't have a star that's bigger than the game, they didn't win the WS.

Until one of those happens, or they do the hard, slow work of becoming an integral part of their communities - which is probably impossible given the reach of their attendance base - they will continue to appear to lag at the gate.

Anonymous said...

Only someone truly delusional would argue that the a's have more fans. Did you look at the stats??? Fans at the gate??? TV and radio ratings (higher even during the seasons where Candlestick kept many away from the park)??? Merchandise sales??? Sponsorship??? And you rely on a fan-fest where people come because it's a chance to get something for free??? Come on, that's where I get off this comical nonsense. You can continue to be delusional, only I won't be reading your nonsense anymore - don't bother replying because I won't read your blithering nonsense. I'll just watch and wait to see the a's move on to sac-town or vegas where they have more than the 65k they have in the east bay. good riddance, knuckle.

Georob said...

Even when the A's were outdrawing the Giants, and even when the Giants were a really bad team; I swear every time I heard someone listening to a game on the radio, it was the Giants. And every time I saw a game on in a bar or restaurant, with the exception of the post-season; it was a Giants game.

In this respect, you really have to blame Charlie Finley. He so alienated the media that the 70's World Champs never got the respect they deserved. Now the Haas family did a lot to undo that damage, but by the time that the A's got close to reaching parity, the team was sold to Schott and Hoffman who promptly fired Lon Simmons. Back to square one again.

One of the A's many problems is that there is a considerable disconnect between the team's history and the present. Finley's champs were totally dismantled, Schott let go of a lot of people from the Bash Brothers era, and let go of numerous other players that were too expensive to keep.

When you keep having to re-invent yourself, it doesn't do a lot for the sake of continuity. On the other hand, the Giants promote their history and legacy to no end; making all their alumni look like Hall-Of Famers regardless of their actual accomplishments.

And frankly, were it not for Candlestick Park, the Giants attendance may have consistently beaten the A's no matter how the teams played.

Finally, the A's(whether they be in Oakland or San Jose) need to market themselves as a Bay Area" team. And if that means re-branding the A's as "California" or "Golden State", so be it.

Remember, most people who live within 50 miles of San Francisco IDENTIFY with San Francisco. That gives the Giants and Niners a BIG jump in the marketing department.

Oh yeah, I'll get people who disagree with that theory. Trust me, you're in the minority!

Bleacher Dave said...

People living within 50 miles of The City may have identified themselves with The City 50 years ago, but I hardly think that's the case today.

tony d. said...

I work in Law Enforcement (and have had many a troubled client), so I'll take being called a "Knuckle-Head" as payback.

Jeff said...

He didn't call you a "knucklehead"....he referred to knuckles.... mayhaps something he has encountered from previous law enforcement contacts?