The Emmys may have been Monday night (Breaking Bad and Modern Family – again – were the big winners), but the biggest winner this past weekend was a team of little leaguers from the South Side of Chicago.
The Jackie Robinson West little league squad games on Saturday and Sunday were a huge ratings draw, with the weekend games on ABC drawing more viewers than all prime-time programs in the Chicago market.
According to the Sun-Times’ Lori Rackl and Ed Sherman’s Sherman Report, Saturday’s victory for the U.S. Championship against the Las Vegas team on Saturday scored a 13.4 household rating – equivalent to 475,000 homes, and was easily the most-watched program of the day. On Sunday, Jackie Robinson West’s loss to South Korea drew a 15 rating, equivalent to 532,000 homes.
By comparison, the always buzzworthy Video Music Awards drew only a 5.3 household rating, which is still a good showing for a cable program in prime-time (nationally, the Beyonce-fueled MTV spectacle drew a solid 4.2 rating among adults 18-49, easily winning the night. )
According to Sherman, the weekend Little League games nationally, Saturday’s game averaged a 3.6 overnight household rating, up 71 percent from last years’U.S. Championship. Sunday’s title game was down slightly to a 3.5, but was up 35 percent from last year.
Final national numbers for Saturday’s game showed the U.S. Championship earning a 3.4 rating and 5.2 million viewers, up 62 percent and 65 percent respectively, from last year’s comparable game, and marking the highest rating and viewership for a U.S. title game in a dozen years (Sunday’s national numbers were not yet available.)
The all African-American baseball team produced a tremendous storyline, with the kids showing off hard work, determination, grit, class, and dignity. Chicagoans rallied behind the team, cheering them on either at home or one of the many viewing parties held across the area, including one taking place outside of WLS-TV, the station carrying the games.
The magical run has also offered the city a respite from the steady stream of negative national and international press Chicago has received since at least 2009, when the city lost a bid to host the Summer Olympics, though it should be noted the Blackhawks’ successful Stanley Cup run in 2010 and 2013 did the same thing.
And similar to when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, we can expect the negative press about Chicago to return once the accolades are over (not to mention a return to the regular bitching about WGN Radio and its management.)
But in the meantime, let the celebrations continue! On Wednesday, a parade is being thrown to honor the Jackie Robinson West squad, starting in the Morgan Park neighborhood, passing through U.S. Cellular Field (home of the White Sox) and finishing with a big rally at Millennium Park downtown. Several local stations and CSN Chicago plan to carry the parade and rally.