Good morning. This is LEADOFF, the early buzz in Atlanta sports.
The Braves’ local TV viewership increased 50 percent before the All-Star break this season compared with the same point a year ago.
Braves telecasts on Fox Sports South and Fox Sports Southeast have averaged a 2.0 Nielsen rating in the Atlanta TV market so far this season, according to the networks, up from 1.35 through the same number of games last year.
Those numbers translate to an average local audience of about 48,000 homes this season, vs. about 32,000 at this point last season.
The ratings rise parallels an improvement in the team’s on-field performance. The Braves reached the All-Star break with a 42-45 record, compared with 31-58 last season.
The improved ratings follow several years of sharp viewership declines and still have a ways to go to get back to where they were before the team’s teardown/rebuild.
According to SportsBusiness Journal’s annual midseason studies, Braves games averaged a local TV rating of 4.2 in the first half of the 2013 season, when the team last won the NL East title. The ratings fell to 3.0 at midseason 2014, 2.03 at midseason 2015 and 1.35 at midseason 2016.
The highest-rated Braves game so far this season was the April 14 home opener at SunTrust Park, which posted a 5.0 rating (about 120,000 homes) in the Atlanta market.
Last season, the highest-rated Braves game on Fox Sports South or Fox Sports Southeast – the season opener — drew a 2.7 rating here (about 65,000 homes). This season, 15 games have posted a 2.7 rating or higher, according to Fox.
The Braves’ schedule resumes Friday night with the start of a three-game series against Arizona at SunTrust Park. All games of this weekend’s series will be televised on Fox Sports South.
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