Sunday, September 15, 2013

Article on Jays Television Numbers

I read with interest this Star article on the Jays television numbers staying strong this year despite the Jays being out of it:

"Except that viewership across all Sportsnet channels is up 21 per cent compared to 2012, while Jays audiences are down only slightly from last season’s record highs despite the team’s poor play."

"Last season the Jays finished with a 73-89 record, and their games drew an average of 540,000 television viewers, up 7 per cent from the previous season and 25 per cent over 2010, according to Rogers.
Before this season many baseball observers labeled the team a World Series contender, and that optimism translated into inflated early-season ratings. This season’s first regular season attracted a record 1.4 million viewers, compared with 1.3 million in 2012."

"By last August, when it had become clear the Jays wouldn’t contend for a playoff spot, viewership dipped to an average of 437,000 per game. Last month, with the Jays again out of contention, ratings fell again but to an average of 475,000 per game."

I was wondering about the comparison with the CFL. The Jays have 162 regular season games per year, so last year the Jays had 87,480,000 total viewers across all games last year. The  CFL has only 72 regular season games per year. Just using an estimate of 600,000 viewers per game that's 42,000,000 viewers total which is significantly less than the Jay total.

A couple of points about that. The CFL numbers are biased towards Alberta and Saskatchewan while the Jays would overwhelming be balanced towards Ontario. Income for Albertans and Saskatchewan people are considerably higher than those in Ontario, so a CFL viewer on average is probably worth more based on location. I would guess the Jays may also have a slightly older audience which isn't worth as much, but I have no data on it.

The CFL's current television deal pays $40 million per year. Using that number for the Jays, the Jays contract would be worth around $83 million, although since Rogers owns both SportsNet and the Jays, there really isn't an open market. Further for both leagues I didn't include playoff games just to keep things simple. The CFL has a bit of an edge there in the sense that the six teams always make it, while the Jays have no guarantee. I also didn't include the pre-season games, where the Jays definitely have an advantage and TSN only broadcast two this year.

With Ottawa joining the league next year, that increases the number of CFL games to 81 per year. Potentially adding an Atlantic team would bump that to 90 games per year.

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