Cardinals Ratings on FS Midwest Up in 2008

Against a backdrop of a decline in viewers nationally and in most regions, Fox Sports Midwest bucked the trend. Cardinals game broadcasts were up in total viewers and ratings in 2008.

According to data published by Sports Business Journal, Fox Sports Midwest, home of 130 St. Louis Cardinals game telecasts in 2008, had a very good year in terms of viewership.


Cardinals games on Fox Sports Midwest pulled down a 7.89 rating in the St. Louis market, second-best of any regional sports network (RSN). Only the New England Sports Network (NESN), home of the Boston Red Sox, garnered a higher rating in their market. Yet unlike NESN, which saw a 17 percent decline in share from last season, the FSMW number was up 5.2 percent over the 2007 season. 


Considering the average number of households watching games, FSMW averaged 98,000 TV households in the St. Louis market, a 6.2 percent increase from last season. That total was ninth-best across the 31 regional sports networks (RSNs) ranked.


To help put the Cardinals positive results into context, overall the 17 Fox Sports Net (FSN) regional networks saw their baseball viewership drop 4 percent year-to-year.


Local ratings were down in many markets, as a total of 19 RSNs experienced a decline this past season, including 15 of which plummeted by double digits. Only 11 of the RSNs had ratings increases for their regular-season games. Six of them showed double-digit growth from 2007, led by a pair of American League division-winners, the Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago White Sox.


In the broader picture, the national network ratings for Major League Baseball were even worse, down across the board during the 2008 regular season.


The Fox Network's MLB ratings fell 13 percent to 2.0, as viewership dropped 12.5 percent for its Saturday afternoon games. ESPN fared relatively less poorly, as their rating fell by 7 percent year-on-year. Even TBS, new to the national scene in 2008, saw a decline of almost 30 percent compared to their 2007 ratings when they broadcast only Atlanta Braves games.


Especially given that backdrop, Fox Sports Midwest has every right to be pleased over their ratings of Cardinals telecasts. Fox Sports Midwest spokesman Geoff Goldman put it this way.


"Fans throughout the region really latched on to this Cardinals team.  Our Cardinals telecasts continue to dominate local viewing, and Cardinals baseball on Fox Sports Midwest ranked second in prime time among all channels in St. Louis during baseball season," Goldman said.


Note: You may have caught the slight change in name, as what was FSN Midwest is back to simply being Fox Sports Midwest. Their new logo is shown above.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at


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