By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
July 5, 2013
Major League Baseball teams that have success on the field don’t always immediately translate the success to the bottom line. Despite having the best record in baseball, the Pittsburgh Pirates are struggling to draw fans to games. The team ranks 23rd in the league in average attendance per game, and has had only four sellouts during the season. The Pirates haven’t finished a season with a winning record since 1992.
On the other hand, Baltimore Orioles TV ratings on their regional sports network have surged since the team made the playoffs last year. The Orioles this season rank 5th in the league in local TV ratings, and ratings are up 86% since 2011. The increased interest has resulted in robust ad sales for the channel.
The difference between the Pirates and the Orioles seems to demonstrate that team’s need a one-season grace period to capitalize on success. If the Pirates can maintain their hot start, they should expect better attendance and TV numbers next year.