The moment the Arizona Diamondbacks registered the last out in Philadelphia in the National League Championship Series, it started.
Here inside Chase Field in downtown Phoenix, the number of people worrying about this is the same figure at Globe Life Mall in Arlington. Zero.
Television ratings for Diamondbacks v Rangers were projected to be horrible, and they are just that. And, so what?
Game 1 of the World Series will forever be remembered as one of the most exciting in the history of one of America’s most celebrated sporting events. No one will remember that the TV ratings for that game averaged a tick more than 9.1 million viewers on Fox, a record-low for the World Series.
The ratings for Game 2 weren’t much better.
(Remember, live sporting events such as the World Series still draw far more viewers than anything else, which is what continues to prop up the pro sports industry unlike anything else in entertainment).
Of course the ratings are terrible for Diamondbacks v Rangers. It’s the Diamondbacks and Rangers.
Baseball is a regional sport more than ever, and the people who watch are those who have either followed the team forever, or live in the area. The TV ratings for these World Series games in the respective cities are good, and when it comes baseball that’s the way these things go.
The same is true for hockey.
No sport is going to come close to beating a major college, or NFL, football game these days so don’t even bother.
There are maybe six teams in Major League Baseball that inject a bump into TV ratings, and neither the Rangers nor the DBacks is a part of that group.
The Braves and Cardinals make the list because both franchises once owned their respective media space way back when.
For several decades the Cardinals were once America’s “Western” and “Southern” team; you will still find Cardinals fans throughout the west and south because their fandom was passed down by listening to games on the once powerful radio station, KMOX.
In the 1980s, the Braves started to take some of those fans away because they were on cable television’s TBS, at a time when the only other team that had its games on all the time was the Cubs. TBS made a lot of people Braves fans.
The Rangers have played in Arlington, Texas since 1972 and, outside of this region, have no real hook to draw fans.
They were terrible in the ‘70s. They were bad in the ‘80s. You don’t build a fan base by losing.
The Rangers had a nice three-year run with names such as Pudge Rodriguez and Juan Gonzalez in the ‘90s, but that group won but one playoff game in three different series against the Yankees.
When the Rangers developed into a winner in 2010 and ‘11, the internet was around to provide even more distractions, and challenges, to building a fan base.
This season, this team was around first place all year, plays in an air-conditioned park, and yet the Rangers ranked 16th in MLB in attendance.
The Diamondbacks have existed since 1998, and like all pro teams that play here in Phoenix they struggle to reach this market let alone another one in a different state. Their World Series team in 2001 is memorable, and they did almost nothing to build on that success.
The DBacks had a good team all year, not great, and ranked 20th in attendance.
If you are going to generate interest, and make fans, you need to win all the time, or do something that will attract people.
Both the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox were known as lovable losers, and famous for their decades-long streak between World Series titles. They also play in stadiums that are living museums, and serve as a tourist attraction for people who know nothing about baseball.
The Rangers’ new stadium, much like Chase Field here in Phoenix, is nice, but neither venue is a destination, like Oracle Park in San Francisco, Dodgers Stadium, Coors Field in Denver or PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
A uniform scheme and fun logo helps, which is why teams all over the place but the Cubs, Red Sox, Yankees, Cardinals and Dodgers are constantly throwing out new combinations.
The Diamondbacks are just another MLB franchise, not that different than the Rangers.
Neither franchise has done much of anything to distinguish itself outside of their respective markets, which is why the TV ratings for Diamondbacks v Rangers was predicted to be, and are, bad.
Also, so what?