Even though the Pirates collapsed after the All-Star break and finished with their worst record since 2010, they still wound up with one of Major League Baseball's few increases in television ratings in 2019, according to Maury Brown of Forbes.
AT&T SportsNet showed a 4% increase in Pirates game ratings last season, going from a 4.75 to 4.95. That was the eighth-best local rating in baseball, and the 4% increase was 11th-best. The actual number of watchers also slightly increased, from an average of 54,000 to 55,000. That was the 17th best across the league.
The data provided went from March 28 to Sept. 29, the length of the regular season. The Pirates' home attendance dropped significantly in the final weeks of the season, and it seems safe to assume television ratings trended down around the same time.
On Oct. 5, AT&T SportsNet and the Pirates announced a new deal to broadcast games. Their previous contract expired at the end of the regular season. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. All 162 games will be broadcast on either AT&T SportsNet or a national affiliate in 2020.
The Indians finished with the best ratings in the country with a 7.18. The other NL Central teams all finished in the top 10 in ratings, as well: The Cardinals finished third (6.87), the Brewers fourth (6.77), the Reds sixth (5.49) and the Cubs 10th (4.43).
In general, while the league continued to see attendance drop, TV ratings increased 2% for the 29 American teams in 2019. The number of households tuning into games held steady.