WASHINGTON — The Redskins and Nationals played games more or less simultaneously on Sunday afternoon, thanks to the latter’s game on Saturday being rescheduled due to rain.
As everybody expected, the ratings for the Redskins game, a 16-10 win over the Baltimore Ravens, absolutely dwarfed those of the Nationals’ win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, despite the fact that the baseball team was playing a postseason game while the football team was playing regular-season game against a team from the opposite conference.
Situation didn’t matter, as [almost] all that matters in D.C. sports fandom is the Redskins. Here’s how significant the ratings gap was, per Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post:
Preliminary overnight Nielsen ratings show that an average of something like 740,000 viewers watched the Redskins-Ravens Fox broadcast in the Washington market, while an average of something like 135,000 viewers watched the Nats-Dodgers broadcast on FS1.
The Skins game peaked at more than a million viewers. The Nats game peaked at about 200,000 viewers. The Skins game got an average household rating of about 20.6. The Nats game got an average household rating of about 3.9.
On average, more than five times as many people watched the football game than the number that watched the baseball game.
As Steinberg mentions, there are many caveats. For example, the football game was between a pair of nearby markets — Washington and Baltimore — and certain areas, such as Frederick, Md., qualify as being in the D.C. market and are home to many Ravens fans. And the Redskins game was on network television, while the Nationals game — which was hastily rescheduled and not listed in many digital television guides in real-time — was shown on cable television’s FS1.
Still, that’s a substantial disparity, and it bummed out local radio hosts Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier. The duo discussed the ratings and took calls throughout its show on Monday, and it went about as expected.
“It’s disappointing,” Rouhier said. “Not that you shouldn’t watch the Redskins, I love them too, but it’s not shocking. It’s kind of what I’ve always thought.”
“But this big of a gap?” Paulsen asked. “If I would have asked you, is it going to be 5-to-1, you would have said yes?”
“I would have said yes,” Rouhier said. “And I’m not trying to make myself sound smart, because I’m constantly wrong and surprised about certain things, but this is kind of what I would have guessed.”