SBD/Issue 33/Sports Media

Fox Pleased With Early Results From World Series

Fox Earns 10.5/18 Rating
For World Series Game One
Fox earned a 10.5/18 fast-national Nielsen rating (16.9 million viewers) for Game One of the Rockies-Red Sox World Series on Wednesday, up 31.3% from an 8.0/15 for Cardinals-Tigers Game One last year, which aired on a Saturday night. The 10.5/18 marks the biggest year-to-year increase ever for a primetime Game One of the World Series, and is also the best Game One rating since the 13.7/25 for Cardinals-Red Sox in '04, which also aired on a Saturday night.  Fox won the night on Wednesday and charted the highest-rated Wednesday for any net since its "American Idol" finale in May (THE DAILY). Game One averaged a 5.8/16 rating in the adults 18-49 demo (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 10/26).

FOX HAPPY WITH EARLY RESULTS: Fox Sports President Ed Goren said the 10.5 fast national was a testament to and a direct result of the new World Series schedule that shifted the start of the event from Saturday, the most lightly-watched night of the week, to the more favorable Wednesday. Goren: "This number obviously speaks to the power and draw of the Red Sox, but also, this is really about the new schedule."  Goren's expectations for Game Two, however, were more tempered given the increased entertainment programming on Thursdays and the somewhat divided fan focus in New England due to the Boston College-Virginia Tech football game. "This is going to be a tougher night, but we're off to an excellent start," Goren said (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).  However, in Houston, David Barron notes Cardinals-Tigers Games Three (played on a Tuesday) and Four (played on Thursday) averaged a 10.2 and 10.4, respectively, which is “uncomfortably close to Wednesday’s performance.” If the Rockies “don’t turn things around in a hurry, and with Game 3 coming up Saturday, there’s no guarantee this series won’t set yet another record low” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/26).

CHANGING START TIMES: In Boston, John Powers notes the first pitch of Game Two was six minutes earlier than that of Game One “because Fox Sports didn’t have to present the lineups again,” but it will be pushed back to 8:35pm ET Saturday for Game Three, the first game in Denver. Monday night’s possible Game Five will start at 8:40pm due to the Packers-Broncos “MNF” game. Fox Sports Senior VP/Media Relations Lou D’Ermilio said, “When the times vary by a minute or two, it’s because it’s happening live.” MLB Senior VP/PR Rich Levin said, “A couple of minutes either way doesn’t matter” (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/26).

Ellsbury Triggers Free Taco Promotion
With Series' First Stolen Base
YO QUIERO SILENCIO! In N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes he has “rarely seen a sponsor so overly and shamelessly integrated into a game” as Taco Bell has been with its “Steal A Base, Steal A Taco” promo. During the sixth inning in Game One, Fox’ Tim McCarver said, “No stolen bases yet in the game.” Fox’ Joe Buck replied, “No free tacos for America.” During Game Two, Fox’ Chris Myers concluded an interview with Taco Bell COO Rob Savage after Red Sox CF Jacoby Ellsbury stole the series’ first base by saying, “We’re thinking outside the bun.” MLB Exec VP/Business Tim Brosnan said that the net “was not required to extend the basic Taco Bell promotion into the call of the game.” Brosnan: “But I think Fox wants to make the sponsors happy” (N.Y. TIMES, 10/26). In L.A., Christine Daniels writes under the header, “Hey Fox, Enough Ads Already.” Daniels writes the shorter the World Series goes “the better, for pretty much everyone concerned, especially viewers forced to sit through Fox’s cross-promotion insanity” (L.A. TIMES, 10/26). USA TODAY’s Mike Dodd notes the three-minute commercial breaks during the World Series “is part of the new TV contract signed last November.” However, MLB VP/PR Pat Courtney said that Fox last year had 2:55 breaks as well (USA TODAY, 10/26).

PLAYERS TURNED BROADCASTERS: D’Backs LF Eric Byrnes, who has been part of Fox’ pregame team, will be replaced by YES Network analyst Joe Girardi for the games played at Coors Field (DENVER POST, 10/26)....In Toronto, William Houston writes Blue Jays C Gregg Zaun, who is covering the World Series for Rogers Sportsnet, “has a good presence on TV,” adding that "many of the best baseball analysts, from Joe Garagiola to [McCarver] to Buck Martinez, are catchers.” Meanwhile, Sportsnet drew 459,000 viewers for Game One, up from 397,000 for Cardinals-Tigers Game One. However, TSN’s coverage of Canucks-Red Wings drew 357,000 viewers and “cut into Sportsnet’s B.C. audience” (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/26).

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