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Total viewership favors MLB in primetime

FOX Sports touts strength of MLB viewers with New York City event
MLB.com

NEW YORK -- FOX Sports and YES Network are teaming up to make a case: The average Major League Baseball team delivers more viewing on its regional sports network than the top 10 primetime shows combined.

And they're proving it with a ballpark-staple-themed stunt: Hot dogs.

NEW YORK -- FOX Sports and YES Network are teaming up to make a case: The average Major League Baseball team delivers more viewing on its regional sports network than the top 10 primetime shows combined.

And they're proving it with a ballpark-staple-themed stunt: Hot dogs.

The Yankees' total consumption number on YES Network last season was 6.9 million minutes -- that's higher than the top 11 shows in prime time, according to FOX research. Indians games on SportsTime Ohio averaged 121,000 households last year, a number that placed fifth in the market behind "The Big Bang Theory" (180,000), "NCIS" (169,000), "The Walking Dead" (132,000) and "Dancing with the Stars" (127,000). But when Fox added up total consumption, Indians games were on top, with 3.8 billion minutes of consumption. The next highest was "America's Got Talent," with 250 million minutes.

The point FOX Sports is making is that time consumed and spent watching baseball over the course of a full 162-game season is a more elegant way to look at media consumption than traditional viewership ratings.

"Our business is all about capturing the attention of the consumer for as much time as possible, and nothing is stronger than Major League Baseball at holding the attention of fans night after night in cities across the country," said Michael Mulvihill, FOX Sports executive vice president of research and strategy. "To really appreciate the true power of baseball, you have to look at the total amount of time fans spend watching their favorite team. In markets large and small, people are spending more time watching baseball than they spend watching the 10 most popular entertainment programs combined."

On Wednesday, FOX Sports strategically placed hot dog stands directly outside several agencies in New York City. They distributed free hot dogs from two stands positioned at each area. One stand was providing jumbo foot-long hot dogs. This stand represented YES Network and FOX Sports signage. The adjacent stand -- merely two feet away -- offered cocktail franks wrapped in buns no larger than a pinky finger. This stand represented primetime programming.

"From April through September, there is simply no better reach vehicle for marketers than Major League Baseball on home team regional sports networks," said Craig Sloan, executive vice president of Home Team Sports, which represents every RSN in the country. "These passionate fans are watching our premium content live every night across the country, delivering sizeable audiences, positive brand transference, and distinct loyalty advantages to our advertising partners while earning marketing results that are second to none."

The disparity in viewership from Regional Sports Networks to that of primetime programming was clear -- even classic toppings like ketchup and mustard were marginalized based on the hot dog stand.

Deesha Thosar is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @DeeshaThosar.

New York Yankees