Red Sox hire analytics company to optimize game start times in 2023

Petagine in a Bottle

SoSH Member
Jan 13, 2021
The Braves seem to play all their games at 20 minutes after the hour. Wonder if it could be a historical relic of TBS and “Turner Time”. Their shows typically end at 5 or 35 after the hour. So a 7:20 start means a pregame show beginning at 7:05, at least back when the Braves aired on TBS.

It sounds like the Phillies moved up their games in school months to 6:45 (from 7:05) to help families be able to attend for longer (and hopefully buy more hot dogs).

Lose Remerswaal

Experiencing Furry Panic
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
I was actually able to run data for April - October for all tv and then regional sports networks. I looked at M-F by hour for 6p-12a. TV ratings are the percentage of the population viewing in an average minute.

For all of TV, viewing is highest from 8-10. Big drop off in the 11-12 hour. 6-7 is highet

Total TV
6-7: 18.1 rtg
7-8: 20.5
8-9: 22.5
9-10: 23.0
10-11: 20.5
11-12: 15.6

for the average regional sports net, 9-10 was the peak with 8-9 and 10-12 right behind. 7-8 and 11-12 have the same average, quite a bit higher than 6-7. Of course, a lot of this is driven by programming, not many games start before 7 and prime time programming concludes at 11. So a little chicken and egg.

6-7: 0.13
7-8: 0.38
8-9: 0.61
9-10: 0.68
10-11: 0.61
11-12: 0.38

Ultimately, I think this shows you want games over by 11 if possible- 11 seems to be that time when a lot of people go to bed. I think that suggest a likely start time between 715-730, which is kind of where we already are, no?
Somewhere on Jersey street, some Sox lawyer is looking at the contract with that “analytics company” and is trying to figure out if there is an escape clause.

and somewhere at an Analytics company someone is hoping to hell that the Sox didn’t see this post

Sad Sam Jones

SoSH Member
May 5, 2017
As far as I can tell, here are the usual weeknight start times for Eastern teams this year:

Mets 7:10
Phillies 6:45
Braves 7:20
Nationals 7:05
Pirates 6:35
Reds 6:40
Yankees 7:05
Marlins 6:40
Rays TBA (2021-7:10)
Guardians TBA (2021-7:10)
Orioles 7:05

So several teams now start before 7:00. The Braves start a little later. I am going to bet that this is to explore if they should games around 6:40.
How many of those actually have a "usual" weeknight start time? As pointed out earlier, Cleveland starts weeknight games in April, May and September at 6:10 and at 7:10 during the summer months. I'm assuming several of those listed with pre-7:00 start times do as well, as an attempt to increase attendance. However, it sounds like the Red Sox are doing the opposite since they don't have attendance problems and are open to adjustments to increase TV viewership. I hope for the sake of all you watching from home, their conclusion is that the best start time is a consistent one. Those school year start times are a headache. Since they don't affect more than 3 games every two weeks (home games, during the week, subtracting get-away or other special day games) for what ends up being less than 3 months of the season, it's impossible for it become routine for the fans.

If the Red Sox adopt a similar situational schedule, there's going to be a lot complaining here from people discovering they missed the first three innings of the game. I've had probably 4-5 seasons to adapt to this for Cleveland and I still can't do it. Of course, as it was also pointed out earlier, the better way for MLB to increase their audience would be to get game times back to the 2½-3 hour range, making it a lot easier to set a consistent window in the evening.