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Boston Red Sox

Jul 23, 2019; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora (20) comes out to the mound but starting pitcher Chris Sale (41) tells him he wants to stay to finish pitching the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

By Matt McCarthy,

It should come as no surprise that interest in the Red Sox waned in Boston in 2019 as the team turned in a disappointing World Series defense.

Television ratings for Red Sox baseball on NESN dropped 23 percent in 2019, according to Sports Business Daily. Only the Rangers, Mariners, and Diamondbacks saw a larger ratings hit this season.

Despite the decrease, the Red Sox were still one of the top five most-watched teams in baseball in 2019 with an average rating of 5.25.

It’s not hard to determine what drove the ratings decline. The Sox followed up a 108-win season with 84 wins in 2019. They also played the longest games in baseball by far at an average of three hours and twenty-five minutes per night.

The Red Sox weren’t the only major franchise in baseball to see a significant dip in their local TV ratings this year. The New York Yankees reported a 17 percent decline, despite a 103-win season. The San Francisco Giants ratings dropped 20 percent.

The St. Louis Cardinals (6.59) posted the highest local broadcast rating for the second-straight season, but their ratings were still down 10 percent from 2018. The Cleveland Indians finished a close second with an average rating of 6.55.

The Milwaukee Brewers and Minnesota Twins also finished ahead of the Red Sox. Minnesota posted a whopping 63 percent increase from their 2018 local ratings, bolstered by the Twins surprise 101-win season.

The San Diego Padres saw the largest ratings boost in 2019, a 73 percent improvement from 2018. The Philadelphia Phillies saw a 20 percent increase in their ratings after signing Bryce Harper last offseason.

On average, MLB reported a 1 percent decrease in combined ratings between the 29 local television markets in the United States. Numbers are not yet available from Toronto.

You can hear Matt McCarthy on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s own Hardcore Baseball podcast and on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.