Last night marked a big milestone in broadcast history: for the first time ever, more viewers tuned in to a regular-season football game than to a World Series game. The World Series is the pinnacle of baseball’s season, while football is just getting started. So what gives?
Media markets (or DMA, designated media markets) play a huge role in all television viewership on a national level, and sports games are no exception. When the Yankees, hailing from New York (the country’s largest media market — DMA 1), are in the World Series millions more viewers tune in from all corners of the country, largely built on a roster of stars that are recognizable to fans outside the Big Apple. Derek Jeter represents countless national brands, Mariano Rivera is the face of Brioni suits and A-Rod is…A-Rod. However, in this year’s Fall Classic, the San Francisco Giants (DMA 5) and Texas Rangers (DMA 6) can’t command the same attention. Can the casual sports fan name more than one or two guys on each of these teams?
That’s not to say that their players are less talented than those on the Yankees (SF’s Tim “The Freak” Lincecum has won two Cy Youngs and the Rangers’ ace Cliff Lee is simply a phenom), it’s just that due to the pull of the market they play in, they are simply below the radar and command less attention than the boys in pinstripes (or their nemeses in Boston, who shall remain nameless, as the author of this blog post is biased against them).
What does this have to do with PR? Media markets play a big role in how a brand (in this case, a sports team) gains notoriety and thus creates ROI. A morning show in NYC will reach far more viewers than one in Tulsa, OK, so it’s beneficial to our clients who have national brands to focus on larger media markets to better disseminate their product or service to a bigger audience.
Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to blog about baseball 🙂