It has been less than a week since the Washington Nationals' season ended with a 9-7 loss to St. Louis in Game 5 of the National League Divisional Series. Despite that painful ending, a look inside the numbers shows the future of the Nationals' brand is bright.
Both locally and nationally the Nationals have gained awareness. That will help them expand their fan base as well as make the District an attractive location for free agents.
Let's start with Game 5 of the NLDS. The game on TBS pulled a record 16.7 rating in Washington, the highest for a nonfootball cable sports telecast in the D.C. area. Only the Redskins have exceeded the ratings the Nationals achieved during the 2012 playoffs.
The Nationals were a hit at the gate, too. According to Major League Baseball, they averaged 30,010 fans per home game this season, good for 14th in the majors.
What was even more impressive was that the Nationals were a great road show. They drew an average of 33,116 away from home, trailing only the Yankees and the Mets. Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg have become national draws at stadiums around baseball.
That will mean more national broadcasts in 2013 on Fox, ESPN and TBS. Look for series against the Phillies, Braves and Cardinals as locks for national telecasts.
According to Major League Baseball, Harper has the fourth-best selling jersey behind only Derek Jeter, Josh Hamilton and Ichiro Suzuki since the All-Star break.
MASN vice president Jim Cuddihy had to be pleased with the Nationals' 2012 ratings, which were up 78 percent over 2011. The Nationals' average rating was 2.65, which translates to around 60,000 homes per telecast.
The Nationals' flagship radio station, 106.7 the Fan, also had the team's best ratings since it moved to Washington.
Washington may not yet be a baseball town, but there can be no doubt the Nationals have laid the foundation to change that in 2013 and beyond.
Examiner columnist Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter @wordmandc.