Earlier this season, I had heard that Red Sox tickets were becoming relatively easy come by, a rumor that was clearly visibly when Boston visited Camden Yards -- "Fenway South" -- and Red Sox hats were not the typical 80 percent of the stadium. In fact, it wasn't even a sellout (a common occurrence when Boston plays in Baltimore).
The Fenway sellout streak is now over 600 games, but interest in the team is waning, with more evidence of this coming Monday, when, for the first time in six years, the Red Sox were not at the top of MLB's local television ratings -- their numbers have dropped from first to fifth in 2010, falling almost 36 percent from last season (a 6.25 average rating, behind the Cardinals, Twins, Phillies and Reds).
The decline in interest has hit the radio waves, too.
For the first half of the season, Red Sox games on WEEI-AM were down 16.5 percent, to 107,500 listeners. The coveted male 25- to 54-year-old demographic was down 28 percent, posting a 10.2 average. It should be noted that the Celtics’ run in this year’s NBA playoffs required the relocation of 20 Red Sox broadcasts this spring from flagship WEEI-AM to WRKO-AM.
The Sports Business Journal cites a lack of star players on the team, the 2010 season being treated as a "bridge year" and the playoff success of the Bruins and Celtics as factors that may be contributing to disinterest in this year's Red Sox team.
But it is still producing a good product -- at 56-44, the Red Sox have nearly the same record 100 games into the season as they did last year (58-42), the fourth-best record in the A.L. and are tied with the Giants for the sixth-best mark in baseball (for whatever that's worth).
So I'll ask the same question Pete Abraham presented in Extra Bases: what's the reason for the diminished Red Sox following in 2010?
Bored with a team that isn't making any big moves? Lack of likable players? Pink Red Sox hats all sold out, resulting in a drop fewer new members joining the Nation? Let us know in the comments.