If there was any question that the 2014 Little League World Series have captured the national imagine, a compelling statistic arrived from Chicago to win over the doubters.
As reported by the Chicago Tribune, the LLWS opener between the Great Lakes region champion Jackie Robinson West Little League, from Chicago, against the Pacific regional champions from Lynwood, Wash., earned an overnight TV rating of 2.4. For those who might not be familiar with converting Nielsen’s ratings, that’s the equivalent of some 70,000 homes watching the game, an impressive figure considering that the first pitch came when many were still at work.
Want to be more impressed? The average overnight ratings from Cubs and White Sox broadcasts this year are both lower than that 2.4 number; the Cubs have been averaging a 1.5 rating on Comcast SportsNet while the White Sox have pulled down a 1.4 rating on the same network. Yes, that means that more Chicagoans have been interested in watching their star Little Leaguers from the South Side knock off another group of 12 and 13-year-olds, 12-2, than they are in taking in highly compensated professionals.
To be fair, this isn’t saying that no Cubs or White Sox games have earned better than a 2.4 rating this year, it’s just pointing out the rather amusing factor that a Little League World Series game featuring a team that happens to hail from Chicago would be one of the biggest baseball events of the year in one of the nation’s biggest cities. Given that the all-African American squad from the South Side features so many compelling subplots — this one from our friends at For The Win is just the tip of the iceberg — well, there may be more big TV ratings coming to Chicago very soon.