SBD/Issue 20/Sports Media

Is It In The Cards? Fox Sees 28% Decrease For Game Two

Sweep-Stakes: Has Cardinals Domination
Over Dodgers Hurt Ratings?

Fox earned a 5.5/9 overnight Nielsen rating Thursday for Game Two of the Dodgers-Cardinals NLDS, down 28% from a 7.6/12 for the comparable Twins-Yankees Game Two last season. The overnight rating excludes the Ft. Myers and West Palm Beach markets. The game peaked with a 6.7/10 from 10:00-10:15 pm ET. The game earned a 34.7/47 in St. Louis and a 10.7/18 in L.A. (Fox).

HOUSTON: Game One of the Astros-Braves NLDS Wednesday averaged 2.59 million HHs on ESPN. In Houston, the game earned a 5.4/10 on KNWS-Ind and a 6.1/11 on ESPN for a combined 11.5/21. In Houston, David Barron notes Raiders-Texans last Sunday on KHOU-CBS earned a 15.5/29 (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/8).

BOSTON: In Boston, Bill Griffith reports that Game Two of the Red Sox-Angels ALDS Wednesday night posted a 20.2 local rating — 10.0 on WCVB-ABC and a 10.2 on ESPN/ESPN2 (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/8).

YANKEES-TWINS: Game Two of the Twins-Yankees ALDS Wednesday night on ESPN averaged 6.81 million viewers from 7:18-11:31pm ET (DAILY VARIETY, 10/8). Canada’s Sportsnet drew 498,000 viewers for the Game Two, “more than twice the network’s postseason average” (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/8).

SEE THE DIFFERENCE: In Minneapolis, Judd Zulgad writes “perhaps the most interesting difference in the way” Fox and ESPN approached their broadcasts of Twins-Yankees Game One and Game Two, respectively, was Fox’ “attempt to build star power” during its Game One telecast. Twins CF Torii Hunter “was featured in the pregame show,” and his “soundbites were heard during the course of the telecast.” Meanwhile, ESPN’s Jon Miller said during the Game Two telecast, “You’d be hard pressed to say [the Twins] have any big stars at this point.” Zulgad writes Fox “knows it is catering to non-baseball fans as well as the diehards,” while ESPN “knows in this case its viewers didn’t land on the all-sports network by accident” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 10/8).

OFF THE BENCH: In S.F., Steve Kroner reports Fox’ Steve Lyons, who made “inappropriate comments” during a September 25 telecast about Dodgers 1B Shawn Green’s decision not to play in observance of Yom Kippur, will work Game Four of Yankees-Twins on Saturday on Fox. Fox Sports in a statement said, “After reviewing the matter internally and speaking with Steve, both parties agree that he exercised poor judgment with his comments. ... Steve did not work last Saturday while we investigated the incident. He has expressed extreme remorse and we apologize to any viewer who was offended by his comments. Convinced that this was an isolated incident, Steve's been cleared to work this weekend” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/8). Lyons said of Green on September 25, "He probably did it more for the heritage and not the religion. He's not a practicing Jew. He didn't marry a Jewish girl. And from what I understand, he never had a bar mitzvah, which is unfortunate because he didn't get the money" (THE DAILY).

FOX’ REGULAR-SEASON RATINGS: “Fox Saturday Baseball" this season averaged a 2.7/7, even with the 2.7/8 last season and up 8% from the 2.5/7 in ’02. Excluding Fox’ ’04 opening game, Yankees-Red Sox in primetime which earned a 3.6/7, the network averaged a 2.6/7 this season. The games this season delivered the largest average audience (3,727,000 viewers) and highest average viewership among the adult 18-49 demo (1,560,000) since ’98 (MLB).

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