Houston, we have a problem.
According to Nielsen live-plus-same day data, the Astros’ Monday afternoon home game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim scratched, delivering a 0.0 rating on Comcast SportsNet Houston. In other words, not a living soul watched the game.
(As my colleague Andrew McMains pointed out, the ’Stros pulled a Blutarsky.)
Actually, if we’re going to split hairs, the goose egg laid by baseball’s lousiest franchise went unnoticed in each of the 579 Houston-area homes in which Nielsen set-top meters are deployed. As such, the telecast drew a 0.0 in households, men 25-54 and any other metric you can imagine.
On balance, it is perhaps for the best that no one in Houston watched Monday’s ballgame. Angels’ southpaw C.J. Wilson dominated the hometown nine, allowing just two base runners over seven innings in a 9-1 romp.
Not too many fans watched the game in the flesh, either. Attendance at Minute Maid Park was a mortifying 17,936 patrons, or less than 43 percent of the ballpark’s capacity.
Last season, Houston lost 111 of its 162 games, giving it the worst record in baseball. The Astros are currently 3-6 and are in last place in the American League West.
This isn't the first time the ball club has put up a 0.0 rating. Last September, Houston dropped its 105th game of the season in front of [perhaps literally] no one.
Heading into the 2014 MLB season, the Astros had the second-lowest payroll in the big leagues, with salary commitments of just $44.9 million. (On the hook for just $41.8 million, the Miami Marlins are the biggest tightwads.) Baseball’s top spenders, the Los Angeles Dodgers, spend nearly six times that amount ($241.1 million).
CSN Houston reaches approximately 500,000 homes in the local DMA. The regional sports network in February was placed under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It is majority owned by the Astros (46.4 percent) and the NBA’s Houston Rockets (30.9 percent), and is operated by the NBC Sports Group, which owns the remaining stake.
According to court records, CSN Houston owes its advertising clients $1.51 million in make-goods.