Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Not Bad for a Terrible Baseball Town

I don't want to talk about the Braves' performance last night against a last-minute fill-in for the Nats, so let's talk about local TV and radio ratings. Through Sports Media Watch, I found this article, which lists how teams have been followed in their local markets. The Braves' ratings are up this year, although they're still only in the middle of the pack in baseball. I did find it interesting that the Braves, who play in the sometimes-proclaimed worst sports city in the Milky Way, are one place in the local ratings away from the Yankees, who play in a city that some in the media (usually based in New York, a shocking coincidence) proclaim as the best baseball city in the country. As a national proposition, the Yankees are a more popular team because of their legions of bandwagonistas. If we are just judging sports towns, in 2010, they aren't penetrating their local market any better than the Braves are and they are behind 11 other teams in that regard.

(Two counters. First, the Yankees have to share their market with another team. Second, this might be a particularly good year for the Braves because they are in first place and they have unleashed Jason Heyward on the world. Then again, the Yankees are the defending champions, which one would think would cause a bounce in the local ratings. I'm not sure how a team wins the World Series and then sees its local ratings go down the next year. Maybe New Yorkers have figured out that only October matters? Viva college football!)

The Braves are also doing very well in the local radio market. They are fifth in baseball (behind four Midwestern markets) in local radio ratings among men 25-54. 680 the Fan has to be thrilled with that development. 680 has done a great job of developing Braves programming before and after the games such that they have a pretty seamless product. Their Braves coverage is probably a large reason why 680 is killing 790 the Zone in the ratings. 790's fundamental problem is that they don't appear especially local (the hiring of David Pollack for the afternoon spot - a great defensive end and a great guy, but not an especially interesting radio personality - was an overcompensation for this problem), whereas 680 figured out quicker that this market is about SEC football first, the Braves second, the Falcons third, and then everything else coming behind. Landing the Braves, especially in a banner season for the team, has turned out to be a coup.

1 comment:

chg said...

I have been away for a couple of years, but it always seemed to me that 790 had better talent (especially Dimino and Cellini), while 680 had a better grasp of the market. If you could merge the 790 personalities (minus the two live Stews and Shapiro) with the 680 focus, you'd have a sports station I would listen to all day long.

However, as much as I love football talk, even I have my limits. Belue and Kincaide are far beyond the pale. The first is even more limited in his radio abilities than he was as a player. I'm not a UGa fan, so he doesn't get bonus points for 1980. Judged purely on his merits, he comes up far short.

Kincaide is more frustrating. In college, I did some phone work for his former employer and had several converstaions with him. He was breaking into the market as a straight sports talk guy. It was only after he was paired with Belue that he adopted his "look at me! I'm the DamnYankee that says inflamatory things!" persona. He's capable of so much more, but I don't go for his act. When you pair that on-air act with a partner who's only qualification is 'I gave the ball to Herschel' Bulldog legend, you get not only an annoying product, but some of the worst types of callers.

As for the ratings, they didn't tell me anything I didn't already know - Atlanta cares more about sports than NY.