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The Little League World Series is depressingly popular television

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592822179_cc2a0e7545In his Twitter feed, ESPN vice president of media relations Mike Soltys linked to a story about Little League World Series television ratings on his family of networks by noting: “Little League viewing is way up this year. Only the most cynical see something wrong with that.”

Well, just call me the Most Cynical Man in the World.

There’s something that makes me queasy that programming featuring pubescent boys (and two girls) running around a field in an adult presentation is growing in popularity at the same time the network formerly known as The Learning Channel is giddy with excitement over another season of Toddlers & Tiaras, which features post-toddler girls running around a stage in an adult presentation.

From the Biz of Baseball, a site that I presume just regurgitated a release put together by Soltys and his minions. Bolded text is from the site:

ESPN’s opening weekend coverage of the Little League World Series averaged 1,056,000 viewers for eight telecasts, a 60 percent increase over last year’s opening weekend average of 660,000 viewers for six telecasts.  The corresponding household impressions are up 52 percent (837,000 in 2009 vs. 549,000 last year) and the rating is up 50 percent (0.9 this year vs. 0.6 in 2008).

ESPN2’s four telecasts are averaging a 1,219,000 viewers, up 137 percent over the 514,000 viewers last year.  ESPN2’s 0.9 rating are an increase of 125 percent (vs. 0.4 rating in 2008) and household impressions are up 122 percent (898,000 vs. 405,000).

Collectively, ESPN and ESPN2’s Little League World Series coverage generated five telecasts posting a 1.0 rating or higher over the opening’s usage was an increase of 545 percent in total hours during the Little League World Series’ opening weekend when compared to the same weekend in 2008.

ABC’s Saturday broadcast (Warner Robins, Ga. vs. Staten Island, N.Y.) posted a 1.3 overnight rating, up 160 percent over the comparable 0.5 overnight rating a year ago.  Sunday’s Little League World Series broadcast on ABC (Russellville, Ky. vs. San Antonio) generated a 0.9 overnight rating, an increase of 29 percent over last year’s 0.7 overnight rating.

ESPN’s Little League World Series coverage from Williamsport, Pa., is coming off momentum built during the Regional Finals, which demonstrated significant audience growth including:


  • Five telecasts up 19 percent in households (708,000 vs. 596,000 for five telecasts in 2008);
  • a 0.7 average rating, an increase of 17 percent over last year’s 0.6 rating;
  • up 14 percent in viewership (889,000 viewers vs. 779,000).


  • three telecasts up 55 percent among households (721,000 vs. 465,000 for three telecasts in 2008);
  • an increase of 53 percent among viewers (972,000 vs. 635,000);
  • up 40 percent in rating (0.7 vs. 0.5 last year).

ESPN’s coverage of the Little League World Series will continue throughout the week – all 32 games available in HD – including the semifinals and final this weekend (Aug. 29-30) on ABC.

Oooh, in HD! You can see the drops of every tear, the curve of every pimple!

Really, if you don’t have a child or know a child involved, why are you watching the Little League World Series? And don’t tell me because the kids play only for the love of the game, because anyone who has been around youth sports for more than two minutes knows that isn’t true. All you’re doing is encouraging more of this stuff to get on television, like MLB TV’s August foray into televising youth baseball championships.

Or is that what you want? You creepy, creepy television viewer, you.

Written by rkcookjr

August 26, 2009 at 6:05 pm