People Reeeally Didn’t Watch the Mayoral Debate

The Red Sox beat not just the Tigers, but Marty Walsh and John Connolly last night.


We all pretty much assumed that the Red Sox playoff game (as well as the other fine programming that airs regularly at 7 p.m. like “Access Hollywood”) would cut into the potential viewership of the first mayoral debate between John Connolly and Marty Walsh. But now, the Boston Herald reports, Nielsen’s ratings for the night confirm it. People really prefer the Red Sox playoffs to a mayoral debate by a factor of … a lot. Surprise!

Specifically, the debate got a 1.9 rating among all TV viewers, meaning that about 2 percent of households in our media market watched the mayoral debate. Meanwhile, from 7:30 to 7:45 p.m., or roughly the 9th inning in a close game between the Sox and Tigers, about 31 percent of households (again, we assume the Herald is giving numbers for just the Boston media market here) tuned in to see the game. Conclusion: It isn’t that you guys had plans last night. You were just tuned into something you found more interesting.

Before you go feeling guilty and/or shaking your head at the sorry state of democracy, etc., and/or arguing that the debates don’t matter, keep in mind that there are a lot more people eligible to be Red Sox fans than are eligible to vote in a Boston municipal election. You wouldn’t expect everyone with a TV that gets Boston stations to be interested in doing more than, at most, reading about the debate in the next morning’s papers. Most of us don’t actually live in Boston proper, but that doesn’t stop us from rooting for the Boston Red Sox. So there’s that. If we were able to isolate further and compare how many Boston voters watched the Sox versus how many watched the debates, the difference might not be so stark. Or maybe it would be. Who can say?  Not us. So democracy lives on to fight another day. As do the Red Sox.

By the way, you can still watch the debate here.