Forbes: Tigers' TV ratings see biggest drop in MLB

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
There are plenty of empty seats in the lower deck at Comerica Park during a game in September.

As Johnny Kane's calorie intake went way up, and before him Justin White's, Tigers television ratings went way down.

In Nielsen numbers obtained by Forbes, the Tigers saw their prime-time audience fall a whopping 38 percent from 2016, which was the largest falloff in Major League Baseball.

The Tigers went from 86 wins and a near playoff spot in 2016 to 64 wins and a last-place finish in 2017.

As such, Detroit went from a 7.51 rating in 2016 to a 4.64 rating in 2017. Each ratings point equates to 1 percent of households in the market.

Still, despite the dip, the Tigers remain relatively strong overall. They're still sixth in MLB in the local ratings, albeit down from third a year ago.

This year, they trailed the Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles, and were just ahead of the Chicago Cubs.

More: Tigers toss a sinker in TV ratings, attendance

Fox Sports Detroit struggled with how to tell the Tigers' narrative during such a poor season, one that ended with Detroit landing the No. 1 overall draft pick.

The on-screen dialogue, as the season wore on, was less and less about the on-field product, and more about what Kane and, before him, White were up to, around the stadium. Often, Kane and White  the latter who left FSD in June  were sent out looking for oddball stories, many of which involved crazy ballpark foods that they'd devour on live TV.

On a whole, the Tigers have been a huge financial boon for FSD, which is believed to hold the rights through the next three or four years, with the Tigers receiving about $50 million a year. Under a new deal, the Tigers' take is expected to be significantly more, after FSD's run of record advertising and profits  so much that a few years back, the Tigers pushed their first pitch back five minutes just to squeeze in a few more "Call Sam" spots and the like.

While the Tigers' linear television ratings were down significantly in prime time, Greg Hammaren, FSD's vice president and general manager, told The News recently that numbers on mobile devices, among other streaming services, have seen increases.