Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times notes the White Sox, still struggling to draw at home, have topped the Cubs in one key category: Local TV ratings.
And there has been this thought, floated about among reasonable people, that Sox fans don’t go to the ballpark because they’re economically strapped and prefer to watch the games on TV.
And you know what? That could be true.
‘‘The Sox have had a 2.0 rating recently on CSN,’’ said Jeff Nuich, senior director of communications for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
‘‘That’s up over 10 percent from last year.’’
That 2.0 equals about 70,000 households, with, obviously, more than one viewer per household. Unless every household is like the one from ‘‘Psycho.’’ Two-point-oh is a decent, if not great, number. But here’s the kicker — it’s higher than the Cubs.
‘‘The Cubs are at a 1.9 rating,’’ Nuich said. ‘‘That’s down about 11 percent from last year.’’
WGN, which also broadcasts Cubs and Sox games, has similar stats. Its recent Sox ratings were 3.6, up 33 percent from earlier August ratings. Cubs broadcast ratings also have been up from earlier this summer (Who knows why? Sadism?), but they are no better than Comcast’s. They are an identical 1.9.
That’s a huge development in Chicago, where the Cubs always have ruled on the TV side too. But then again, who can watch the Cubs these days? It got me to wondering how far have their ratings fell since 2008?
The Cubs were at their peak, winning 97 games en route to a second straight NL Central title. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was on the bandwagon.
The local TV ratings show how many people have dropped off. Back in 2008, the Cubs pulled a 5.0 rating on Comcast Sports Net. For those keeping score at home, the 2012 rating of 1.9 represents a mammoth 62 % decline.
I don’t have the WGN overall numbers, but it has to be similar. In 2008 and 2009, the Cubs were pulling double-digit ratings for some of their games on WGN. 10s, 11s, 12s. Now they can’t average a 2.
Ah yes, Cubs fans had such high hopes as they entered the opening of the 2008 playoffs against the Dodgers. Then they got swept, and it’s all been downhill from there at Wrigley Field.