The NHL’s not the only non-football league that is struggling to get big national TV ratings.

The ratings for Fox’s “Baseball Night in America” are in the toilet.

Of course, the low ratings are not a good measure of baseball’s popularity because the Fox game was competing with local telecasts all over the country.

Unlike NBC’s “Football Night in America”, or ESPN’s Monday Night Football, which have all the football fans to themselves.

There was a time when the NBC Saturday Game of the Week was a pretty big deal. That was before teams televised so many games on local TV. And before the Pirates televised any home games.

If the Pirates were playing at home on a Saturday, you had two choices if you wanted to see a Major League Baseball game.

You could buy a ticket to the Pirates game or watch Curt Gowdy and Tony Kubek on NBC.

And the NBC Game of the Week was your only chance to see an American League team.

Now, national network hockey and baseball games aren’t much more than wallpaper for the sports bars.





  • FreddieTheFlute

    This just in, the NBA DRAFT LOTTERY had higher ratings than the Stanley Cup Final the same night.


    • John Steigerwald

      So what?

      • Dan

        Question for you John, one hockey fan to another. How much, if at all, do you think ratings would increase if the Stanley Cup Final were held in February? 5%? 15%? More? I see you make the argument about playing hockey in June and it’s a valid point but I want to ask how much of a difference you think it makes in terms of numbers.

        • John Steigerwald


          • Dan

            If you say so. I don’t watch because I don’t care about either team and that wouldn’t change no matter what time of year they played it. It’s one thing to watch Pats-Giants, two teams I don’t care about, play one game for all the money. It’s another to watch Devils-Kings, one team a longtime rival and another with no discernable history despite decades in the NHL, play seven games after already watching two months of playoff hockey.

          • Dan

            I will make time for game 5 tomorrow though, as tough as it is right now to not watch the Pirates. 20 years and they’ve only played so many meaningful games in June, hard to miss them now while we have the chance.

          • Bobzilla

            How come the NBA playing in June has no substantial effect on its TV ratings?
            This country doesn’t like hockey, no matter when it’s played. However, since John’s grandkids are now playing hockey in their driveway, the sport’s popularity obviously is on the cusp of dizzying heights.
            Soccer can’t be far behind.

          • John Steigerwald

            Hockey is played on ice. It doesn’t have the following that football baseball and basketball have.There should be no teams in p-laces where there is no ice and shouldn’t be played in the Summer. The popularity of hockey in Pittsburgh is not on the upswing. It’s already here. The Penguins have sold out games for five seasons and they have higher TV ratings than any NHL or NBA team in America.

          • Bobzilla

            Here’s all you need to know about football’s popularity in America: The Pro Bowl, as putrid, disgusting and boring as that game always is, traditionally outdraws all of the other sports leagues’ all-star games, including MLB.
            I haven’t watched a Pro Bowl game in years.

          • John Steigerwald

            It’s on in February. America is shut in. MLB game is on a Tuesday night in July. America is on vacation or at the Dairy Queen.

          • Bobzilla

            I understand what you mean about the weather, and that would be a great argument back in the 1970s when there were maybe eight channels from which to choose.
            Today’s cable TV providers offer hundreds of channels, which ought to reduce TV ratings for anything, including the Pro Bowl.
            I’d rather watch paint dry than a Pro Bowl.

  • Mike V

    Non-BCS D-1A (not I-AA or FCS or whatever they call themselves to pretend they are at the same level as D-1A) football teams should be playing in a national conference starting in the spring and a championship game late June or July 4th. It would get just as good of ratings as MLB for Fox and Americans would get to watch a sport they actually want to see. It would be great for the schools. It would be better than this new USFL league as basically the same level of talent would be playing with the added bonus of people rooting for their local school.

  • chris

    Ill bet fox will have some competition from other networks in the bidding for the next national tv contract whenever the current is up

    • John Steigerwald

      The MLB post season is still valuable.

      • sherm

        when is the next live tribune show and where?

        • John Steigerwald

          We’ll be live at Consol for the NHL draft on June 22 3-6PM.

  • Turk182

    Football games are wallpaper, too…..just wallpaper that idiots continuously stare at without being able to comprehend what they are seeing because 99.9% of football fans are fans of being fans and mindless, easily led morons who know absolutely nothing about the game.

    I did a test once of my football “fan” buddies and asked them to explain to me a zone blitz….1 out of the 34 I asked got it right.

    • slrpea

      i really don’t know what’s worse: guy who wears a jersey, gets wasted in the parking lot and acts like a fool all in the name of being a fan and supporting his team, or guy who thinks that he, because he knows every scheme, call, and rule and believes he could be the head coach, deserves the “true fan” label more than someone else. watch and enjoy the game dude. then go to work on monday.

    • Bobzilla

      You are so tricky.

  • gmuny2002

    I remember when I was a kid NBC’s “Game of the Week” were televising from Forbes Field and of course it wasn’t on Channel 11 since they “blacked out” home games in those days. But, my old man in one of his rare moments of genius somehow tuned in WTOV in Wheeling, W VA, unfortunately there was no sound, but that was remedied by tuning in KDKA-AM on the radio. I prefered Bob Prince and Nellie King over Gowdy and (Mr. bad hop in the throat) Kubek any day! I live in the mid-state now and I watch as many Bucco and Phillies games as I can! For a baseball fan, the over-saturation of cable TV is a dream come true! As for FOX, I’ll watch it when ever the Bucs or the Phils are on, but I can’t stand Joe Buck (loved his daddy though!) and Tim McCarver gets on my nerves by stating the obvious and he’s going into the Hall of Fame as a broadcaster?! I wonder what the guys who voted that day were smoking! Just sayin!

  • Chuck

    The reason Fox’s ratings are in the crapper is because they’re not showing any Pirate games. The ratings will skyrocket once our Buccos appear instead of the Yankees and Red Sox. Who the hell wants to see Derek Jeter or David Ortiz when they can see Clint Barmes or Gorkys Hernandez. Wake up Fox……

  • Bobzilla

    If I’m not mistaken, I believe MLB and Fox have an agreement that local broadcasts can’t be aired when Fox is showing its nationally-televised games.

    • John Steigerwald

      I didn’t know that. The NHL said it would be doing that after the lockout but it didn’t last long. That makes Fox’s rating even more putrid.

  • Matt

    Actually there we’re no local games televised Saturday Night as per MLB rules. However it was up against the SCF on NBC and the NBA on TNT. According to the site you linked FOX Baseball beat the hockey and lost to the basketball.

    • John Steigerwald

      That’s what the NHL said it was going to do.

  • stennet

    I remember the game of the week on NBC, it was a big deal at the time, who in Pittsburgh wants to see the L.A . Angels play the the Texas Rangers or San Fran Giants on a weekly basis?