The Forbes television ratings are in, and small markets did us all proud this year. Cleveland rode a World Series appearance to No. 1 overall, Kansas City continues to rate well at No. 2, and small market contenders Minnesota and Milwaukee pushed the Rays down to 18th.
This is a pretty far drop for the Rays overall, down from 13th last season, but their ratings actually remained largely unchanged, falling just 5% overall on the season. That’s nearly within a margin of error for polls, and speaks to the strong fanbase the Rays have following on television.
Big increases from Arizona and New York (AL) also played a factor.
The Rays ranked ahead of the Braves (who celebrated a new stadium this year), the playoff bound Astros and Dodgers (whose contracts are terrible), as well as the Rangers, Mets, Marlins, and Angels to name a few large market fanbases.
It will be interesting to see what the TV ratings could be again for a contending Rays team. A stronger April is typically needed to see real increases on the full season ratings.
Earlier this year, the Rays notably outdrew the College World Series winning Gators in prime time, but financially we’ve been told things are probably not going to change for the small market, cash strapped team with a low paying television contract.