The Cubs’ clincher over St. Louis Tuesday pulled in 6.3 million viewers on TBS. Combined with strong numbers for the Mets-Dodgers series, TBS’ postseason ratings are up 42 percent from 2014.
Meanwhile in Chicago, the Cubs’ run is playing on the local front pages and leading TV news reports daily. So you would expect the Cubs ratings for their playoffs games would be higher than the 2-3 Bears, who have been pushed in secondary status of late?
Through five regular-season games, the Bears are averaging a 23.6 rating in Chicago; 1 local ratings point is worth an estimated 35,000 homes. Meanwhile, the Cubs’ five postseason games generated a 19.4 rating on TBS.
A couple of factors come into play. TBS is a cable station that is seen in 86 percent of the nation’s homes. All five Bears games have aired on network television on Fox and CBS. Typically, cable ratings are 10-15 percent lower than the network’s.
However, the counter is that all five Bears games were played on Sunday afternoon. Meanwhile, two of the Cubs’ playoffs aired completely in primetime, and two others had finishes that pushed into primetime. Ratings usually are higher in primetime than during the afternoon.
Also, keep a couple of other things in mind. Chicago is a two-team baseball town, and there might be some White Sox fans who aren’t tuning into the Cubs’ victory march.
And never discount the drawing power of the Bears and the NFL. Monday, TBS did a 3.5 national rating for Game 3 of the Cubs-St. Louis series and a 2.4 for Game 3 of Mets-Dodgers. Despite going up against two compelling postseason baseball games being played in the nation’s three largest markets, ESPN did a 7.7 rating for its Monday night telecast of the Pittsburgh-San Diego game.
Yet having said all that, TBS is ecstatic at having the Cubs in the NLCS. The bandwagon will build as the stakes get bigger. If they continue their run and get to the World Series, don’t bet against the Cubs when it comes to ratings against the Bears.