KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Build a winner, and they will watch.
That is the obvious story line behind the Royals’ record-setting television ratings on FOX Sports Kansas City as the Royals, who won 86 games and stayed in the playoff chase until the final week of the season, posted their highest season average ever for cable telecasts with a 6.4 rating in 2013.
That ratings spike of 71 percent over 2012 (average 3.8 rating) was the biggest increase in Major League Baseball this season.
Here are some other highlights from the final ratings figures:
* The Royals posted their highest-rated game ever on FSKC on Aug. 13 (Miami) with a 12. 3.
* Ratings were up every month of the season over 2012 (not just a second-half spike in 2013). Even in May, when the Royals went 8-20, ratings were up 37 percent.
* The Royals were sixth in average ratings among all MLB clubs, up from 15th last season.
* Royals telecasts were the No. 1 show in prime time in Kansas City on 45 nights from June through September.
“It was a thrilling season,” said Jack Donovan, FOX Sports Kansas City general manager and senior vice president. “It was apparent the entire year — from the off-season, to Opening Day, to game 162 — that there is a heightened level of excitement around Royals baseball that will continue well into the future.”
Royals general manager Dayton Moore, whose team won more games (86) than any Royals team since the 1989 team went 92-70, said the ratings validate what he has always believed about Royals fans.
“These fans appreciate good baseball and winning baseball,” Moore said. “I have always believed that. And we’re very excited about what the future holds for our team and for our relationship” with FSKC.
American League Central brethren Detroit topped all MLB markets for the second straight season, averaging a 9.6 rating on FOX Sports Detroit. The Cardinals were second at 8.7 on FOX Sports Midwest, followed by the Pirates (7.9), Reds (7.7) and Red Sox (7.3) — all of whom made the playoffs. The Royals, as mentioned, were sixth.
The White Sox, who went from contenders in 2012 to a doormat in 2013, saw their ratings drop 45 percent.
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email at email@example.com.