It’s hard to predict how Stephen Strasburg will do in his major league debut tonight for the Washington Nationals, but I think it’s safe to say that the TV ratings for the broadcast on MASN will break records for the five year old regional sports network.
MASN saw record ratings for some Nats games in May, as contests vs. the New York Mets on May 10 & 11 each drew a 2.0, which are “the highest television ratings of the team’s six-year history in Washington,” according to MASN. MASN also reports that the team had set a record earlier in May, “with a 1.8 household rating for the matchup with Atlanta, when Scott Olsen threw a no-hitter through seven innings.”
As of that May MASN posting, “television ratings for the Nationals [were] up 43 percent over the same period last season” with them team “earning a 1.0 household rating, as more than 20,000 households in Washington tune in nightly.” Last Monday, a Strasburg start for AAA Syracuse, that was broadcast live on MASN, peaked at just shy of that average with a 0.9 rating, according to the Washington Examiner.
One tiny factor to consider tonight regarding the TV viewing audience is that more than 41,000 people will be at the game. That’s well above the team’s average attendance of 21,559 through 27 home games this season. But the hype is so big for Strasburg and this game, that will likely be just a drop in the bucket. MASN should see some through-the-roof ratings tonight.
UPDATE – Wednesday, June 9
John Ourand with Sports Business Journal is reporting that “Strasburg’s debut brought a 6.81 rating to MASN2 in DC.”
UPDATE 2 – Wednesday, June 9
Dan Steinberg has a piece up on the Sports Bog about last night’s TV ratings: “Strasburg debut smashes MASN ratings record.”
UPDATE 3 – Wednesday, June 9
MASN is reporting: “Preliminary overnight Nielsen ratings show that the Nationals game on MASN has set a new record high rating for the network, earning a 7.1 HH rating as more than 165,000 households in the Washington region tuned in to watch an historic pitching performance.”