It's hard to believe, but the recently completed America's Cup yacht racing, despite the toxic combination of controversy, tragedy, and apathy, pulled in better televised viewership than did either of our Major League Baseball teams. Shocking, but true, especially in light of sailing's reputation as a rich man's plaything and baseball, as, well, baseball.
According to the New York Times, the first two days of sailboat racing, shown on NBC, averaged just over one million viewers. When the competition moved to cable on NBCSN, viewership averaged 165,000. That doesn't sound like much—but it did better than America's pastime.
The San Francisco Giants, throughout their disappointing season, averaged only 98,578 viewers per game (last year they had 121,347), according to the San Francisco Business Times. The Oakland A's, who made it to the post-season, only pulled in an average of 31,024 (which is also down from last year's numbers).
What about live attendance though? Well, the America's Cup debut race drew 870,000 in-person spectators. That's far below the original promise of two million, but way ahead of the 41,087 per game attendance at the Giants or the paltry 22,337 per game for the A's.
So what is to be done? Let's just hope the A's win the World Series. That should be worth another five or ten viewers, right?