Cubs hit a ratings home run in postseason


Cubs clinch Division Series against rival Cardinals to advance; Mets or Dodgers are up next

This certainly has been one of the seasons to remember if you are a Chicago Cubs fan. The team’s postseason run is sending viewers to their TV sets as Turner Broadcasting – and local TV stations – even a few who don’t even carry games of the team -are benefiting.

The fourth game in the NLDS series between the Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals drew a 4.0 Nielsen household rating and drew 6.2 million viewers Tuesday in its early fringe/prime access time slot for TBS, up from game three’s 3.5 rating and 5.8 million viewers, opposite Monday Night Football.

In Chicago, the Cubs game Tuesday afternoon drew a 21.4 rating, down from a 23.4 rating the previous night, but chalk it up to Tuesday’s game airing in an earlier time period, where HUT levels are lower.

The Cubs-Cardinals playoff series – the first time both teams have ever met in the postseason – have showed ratings increases from last year NLDS games, and with the Cubs now advancing to the NLCS facing the large market Los Angeles Dodgers or New York Mets, ratings for TBS are bound to go through the roof.

mlb-nlds-chicago-cubs-st.-louis-cardinals-850x560TBS wasn’t the only beneficiary of the Cubs success – local Chicago stations also cashed in when the team advanced to the next playoff round Tuesday evening with three local stations pre-empting network programming to air postgame coverage in the locker room, and in and around Wrigley Field.

ABC-owned WLS-TV finished first in households among stations with postgame coverage, earning a 5.6 household rating and 9 share and a 2.6 among adults 25-54. WMAQ finished second with a 4.4/7 and a 2.2 in adults 25-54. WGN-TV finished behind both stations in both categories with a 2.7/4 and a 1.6, respectively.

WBBM-TV stuck with NCIS for the hour with cut-ins from Wrigley during commercial breaks. The plan did pay off among households, winning the hour with a 7.4 rating,  but finished with a 1.4 among 25-54s.  

Without the third-largest market, several primetime shows struggled nationally. ABC’s heavily-hyped Muppets – which was delayed until midnight in Chicago, finished with a series-low 1.3 rating in the 18-49 demo, finishing barely ahead of NBC’s Best Time Ever, which earned a 1.2, also a series-low. CW’s Flash beat both shows with a 1.4, decent by CW standards. Keep in mind prime-time programming is targeted to adults 18-49 (although that’s debatable.)

Seemingly, Chicagoans didn’t mind the pre-empted programming as complaints were scarce on social media. After all, it’s not every year the Cubs make it into the postseason.

Programming on the broadcast networks were also impacted by the Democratic Presidential debate, which drew 15 million viewers nationally for CNN Tuesday night. I guess politics does “Trump” all.