The general story among all 30 major league clubs here is pretty clear: when you win more games, you get better ratings. We knew that.
The story for the Yankees is very different. The Yankees have pretty much the same record as last season. They are currently on pace for 88 wins, barely up from 84 wins in 2016 and 87 in 2015. But it sure feels different, doesn't it? This Yankee team is just more fun to watch than any Yankee team since at least 2010ish, maybe even farther back.
I don't watch to draw too much information from this data point, but this season might be a real indictment of the business case for big free agent spending. The Yankees spent a ton of money on Jacoby Ellsbury, Chase Headley, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran for a few seasons. That bought them some wins - the Yankees never really bottomed out - but didn't do much to energize the fan base. Those guys just weren't that fun to watch.
Now, a bunch of free agents to supplement Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier, etc, in order to build a superteam? I think that would have a real effect. The Yankees, as exciting as they have been, are a flawed baseball team. I think a 95-win, true World Series contending Yankee team would have even better ratings.
At the very least, any Steinbrenner concerns about the budget are unfounded. Yankee fans are rewarding ownership by watching, attending games, and spending money. The Steinbrenners are likely raking in the cash this year. A few extra million dollars should not be the hang out to build a winning team.