The White Sox are not only playing their best baseball in years but also putting up some of the league’s top television ratings and by a significant margin.
Maury Brown of Forbes reported in a tweet Tuesday afternoon that as of the MLB All-Star break, only five clubs have seen their regional sports network viewership up from 2019 – the Tigers, Padres, A’s, Giants, and White Sox. Of those teams, the Sox’ numbers on NBC Sports Chicago are trending drastically higher with a massive 123% spike during the two-year span.
Looking more closely at the Sox’ stats from the beginning of the season to mid-July, average viewership for the team is at 68,502. Back in 2019, that number was at just 30,766 and increased to 58,078 during the shortened season in 2020. While the overall average 2021 viewership for the team still doesn’t overtake others like the Yankees (YES – 200,475), Red Sox (NESN – 84,731), or even the crosstown-rival Cubs (Marquee – 84,048), this increase is a significant positive for NBC Sports Chicago and the White Sox in many ways – revenue especially.
One can assume the product on the field is obviously a key reason for this drastic spike, as the same thing happened on the North Side following the Cubs’ rebuild. But it would be foolish not to credit at least part of this surge to the NBC Sports Chicago team, who’s responsible for providing us with live game coverage, pre- and post-game shows, and additional content for a vast majority of the season.
It all starts with Jason Benetti and Steve Stone in the booth, who’ve been a dynamic duo since they debuted together in 2016. Previous television broadcast rankings, as voted on by the fans, have seen the pair come in at number 11 (Awful Announcing – 2019) and 8 (The Athletic – 2020) out of the 30 teams for their overall game experience. Remote broadcasts are also not an easy thing to conquer, but the two have done an excellent job since it was implemented during the pandemic. Maybe these astounding TV numbers can serve as more motivation to get these guys out of their Chicago studio and back on the road with the Sox.
Brown wrote on Twitter that he’ll be writing more on these viewership numbers in a Forbes article later next week, so be sure to give him a follow @BizBallMaury for more! We’ll see what other trends may be uncovered from a league-wide standpoint, and what it all could mean for a game that’s struggled to get eyes in recent years.
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