By Zachary Baru
As the Boston Red Sox come off their eighth World Series title in 2013, the team looks for another ratings increase on the New England Sports Network.
In 2013, NESN ratings rose 14 percent from 2012. This was good for a 7.3 local rating in the nation's seventh largest media market. Fenway Sports Group, the owner of the Boston Red Sox, is a majority owner of NESN, owning 80 percent of the regional sports network.
The ratings increase comes during a season that saw the Red Sox capture their third World Series title since 2004, and generated big ratings during the postseason. The 2013 World Series on Fox averaged an 8.9 national rating and 14.9 million viewers, up 17 percent from 2012.
So much for all the "will fans come back?" we heard after the collapse of 2011. Never doubt Red Sox fans, and more importantly, never doubt Boston sports fans in general.
One challenge the Red Sox will face in ratings will be from another team in town, the Bruins, who own 20 percent of NESN. With much of the spotlight of Boston sports fans being consumed by the Bruins as they enter the postseason, ratings may take a while to get up to potential. But as the 2014 season gets underway with a strong and fan-appealing lineup, the Red Sox look to continue their ratings success for another season of high local numbers.
Source: Forbes, Nielson Media Research
Zach Baru can be followed on Twitter @zbaru and reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.