Astros Post Worst TV Ratings of Any MLB Team Since 2008

csn houston.jpg
The third straight awful season for the Astros coupled with the lack of a deal with cable providers to carry CSN Houston has made for abysmal television ratings for the team. How bad? Well, you would have to go back to the 2008 Washington Nationals to find a worse local TV ratings number than the .43 the Astros posted the first half of this season. That's an average of 10,000 households.

Certainly much can be blamed on the team being dead last once again in the standings, but a young team showing some signs of life, it can be assumed, should find some interest from even casual fans looking for a ray of hope. But when your games only make it into roughly 40 percent of Houston homes, it is a recipe for disaster.

A report from Sports Business Journal (subscription only) indicates the Astros' ratings are down 66 percent from last season. That drop-off corresponds perfectly with the lack of a deal between CSN Houston and cable providers like U-verse, DirecTV and Dish Network. The inability to strike a deal has affected both the Astros and the Rockets, who are part owners in the channel. Neither team has been seen outside Comcast and several smaller carriers since the channel's inception last fall.

The Astros' precipitous drop can also be traced to their third straight losing season, finding them on pace for yet another 100 losses, putting them in historic company as they lurch towards records they do not want to break.

But ultimately, the problem lies mostly at the feet of CSN Houston and their lack of carriage deals with cable providers. As pointed out in the SBJ article, as other teams with regional sports networks (RSNs) have worked out deals with additional carriers, their ratings have gone up.

Another RSN with distribution problems, FS San Diego, has posted the biggest percentage ratings increase this season among U.S.-based MLB teams. San Diego Padres games have the third-lowest average audience among teams monitored by SportsBusiness Journal, but the team's 2.74 rating (29,000 homes) is up 52 percent from last year, somewhat surprising considering the team's below-.500 record.

The main difference: AT&T and Dish Network started carrying FS San Diego this year; last year, they didn't. That means Padres games can be seen by more San Diego subscribers than last year. Time Warner Cable remains the main holdout, refusing to carry FS San Diego.

If the Padres can get into 29,000 homes, it seems shocking the Astros -- even with only Comcast as a carrier -- can't get into more than 10,000, but that's the reality. Until the Astros, Rockets and CSN can come to some arrangement with cable providers, the ratings will no doubt continue to plummet.


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12 comments
Jesus
Jesus

Why don't they have the games on a local station for free like when I was a kid in the 80s??

Motherscratcher
Motherscratcher

I don't lay this all on Crane. Not at all. The other providers are just as guilty for taking advantage of a "low interest" point to hold out for a better price. The Astros look to be good in a couple of years and it makes sense to get as low a price point as possible. It's smart business, but frustrating to fans. I would watch all or part of every game I did not attend. However, I am not at the point of cancelling Uverse. I am, however, closer to that than I was.

How about this solution. Offer a price deal to the first big provider (AT&T, Dish, DirecTV) that signs on. Everybody else pays full boat. Some movement is better than none.

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

Crane is a greedy POS, concash sucks, and still livid I saw all of 2 rockets games last year.. Can't blame ATT/Dish etc as they was $4.30 per subscriber for the travesty that is CSN greednet..

Motherscratcher
Motherscratcher

It is the new way of the world. Would be nice to have the away games for free on local tv like the olden days. Ahh, the olden days.

john1914
john1914

@Tony Gutierrez This was a Drayton deal done before the sale.

Motherscratcher
Motherscratcher

@gossamer16 Please see your previous comment where you were spouting facts that you couldn't back up and that were easily proven wrong. Also, am I allowed to insult you for using the word "whose" improperly? The problem, as I see it, was that the Astros/Rockets/Dynamo were a little late to the dance and providers are nutting up to what they see as local sports extortion (maybe it is, maybe not). It still very well may be a shrewd business deal. I would like to watch the Astros on TV, that's all. I love baseball and I am a lifelong Astros fan.  Crane does not deserve all of the heat on this. I give him credit for not bailing on his valuation, which probably has a strong basis and was part of the business model. In the interest of full dislosure, I am a season ticket holder. I have some skin in the game.

john1914
john1914

@gossamersixteen @Motherscratcher Drayton signed a 20 year deal with Comcast before he sold the team. Crane doesn't want to give the channel away now because he thinks it will be worth more later. So everybody is playing chicken with Crane. AT&T, Dish, DirecTV all know they're not losing subscribers right now, so they can afford to wait him out.

Either Crane buckles and offers it for the fees that the others are willing to pay because the network is hemorrhaging money, or enough time passes and the team is worth watching and the other TV providers start seeing churn and they pay what Crane wants. But with a sucko team, it's going to take a long time for either side to blink.

But WTFDIK?

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

@Motherscratcher Whose vetoed every chance to have carriage on other cable networks? Crane the greedy SOB, don't go spouting off insults when you can't back it up genius.

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