SBD/Issue 29/Sports Media

Fox Earns 9.2 Overnight For Phils-Rays World Series Game Two

Fox Earns 9.2 Overnight
For Phils-Rays Game Two
Fox earned a 9.2/15 overnight Nielsen rating for Thursday night's Phillies-Rays World Series Game Two, which the Rays won 4-2, marking a 26.4% decrease from a 12.5/20 for the comparable Rockies-Red Sox Game Two last year. Thursday's game was also down 26.4% from a 12.5/19 for Cardinals-Tigers Game Two in '06, which aired on a Sunday night following the NFL late-window game on Fox (Redskins-Colts). Last night's game and pregame on Fox combined to average an 8.6/14 in primetime, ranking right behind CBS' 8.7/14. Tampa-St. Petersburg topped all markets with a 31.3/47, while Philadelphia posted a 30.7/44 (THE DAILY).

GAME ONE: Fox earned a 9.2/15 final Nielsen rating and 14.6 million viewers for Game One of the Phillies-Rays World Series Wednesday night from 8:30pm-12:00am ET, down 12.4% and 13.4%, respectively, from a 10.5/18 rating and 16.9 million viewers for Rockies-Red Sox Game One last year, which also aired on a Wednesday. Phillies-Rays Game One is also up 15.0% and 14.0%, respectively, from an 8.0/15 and 12.8 million viewers for the Saturday night Cardinals-Tigers Game One (THE DAILY). Phillies-Rays "gave Fox its highest-rated Wednesday since the 'American Idol' finale in May" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 10/24). DAILY VARIETY's Rick Kissell writes perhaps helping Fox' ratings Wednesday was the "fact that the game was tight throughout and didn't oppose any blockbuster entertainment programming on rival networks" (DAILY VARIETY, 10/24).

SELIG HAPPY WITH RATINGS: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, meeting Thursday night with reporters prior to Game Two, said he was more than satisfied with the Game One TV ratings. "I'm very happy about this. A 10.3 (overnight) -- that's a great first game rating," Selig said. "The key, again, is getting Games 5, 6 and 7. But this is very encouraging. I was working out (Thursday morning) and my phone rang, saw it was Tim (Brosnan, MLB Exec VP/Business), and my heart started pounding. I told him, 'Please don't ruin my day.' He said he wasn't going to do that and that he was happy ... Fox won the night and we're off to a good start" (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). Fox VP/Communications Dan Bell: "We're off to a very solid start. This is a good number for a first night. No show gets the same ratings now that we saw in 1995. What advertisers pay for is a Series that dominates all other TV, and we're doing that" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 10/24). But in Dallas, Barry Horn writes of Fox' 9.2 final Game One rating, "I say that's not good enough if the network hopes to beat the all-time low of 10.1" (DALLASNEWS.com, 10/23). Chicago Tribune reporter John Mullin said, “I can see ... how an average fan or a non-baseball fan would say, ‘I don’t care.’ This is probably going to be the lowest-rated World Series ever.” Chicago Tribune reporter Dave Van Dyck: "I think the ratings are probably going to be low again this year, but that’s the way it is" ("Chicago Tribune Live," CSN, 10/23). In L.A., Steve Springer writes, "Imagine how much more appealing it would have been Wednesday night to have [Dodgers LF] Manny Ramirez coming to bat in Fenway Park. Talk about monster ratings. That would have produced Green Monster ratings" (L.A. TIMES, 10/24).

THE LATE SHOW: Selig said he is "concerned" about the late start times for postseason games, but said facts "don't substantiate" the rationale that the ratings decrease is in part due to the game times. Selig: "We had some day games during the LCS's as you know and ... the ratings were terrible. And more importantly, even in the Red Sox games, Red Sox-Rays in the (ALCS), the best ratings were from 11 to 12 o'clock at night. ... The rating (Wednesday) night and the rating every night gets much better as time goes on" ("Mad Dog Unleashed," Sirius XM Radio, 10/23).

REGIONAL RATINGS: Horn noted "no market with a [MLB] team is more disinterested in postseason baseball than Dallas-Fort Worth," as Game One earned a 5.0 rating on KDFW-Fox, ranking 55th among 56 metered markets (DALLASNEWS.com, 10/23). WITI-Fox earned a 12.5 rating in the Milwaukee market, marking the "highest-rated Game 1 of a World Series" in the market since '93 (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 10/24). Meanwhile, Rogers Sportsnet drew 436,000 viewers for Game One, down 5% from 459,000 viewers for Red Sox-Rockies Game One last year (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/24).

Writer Wants McCarver
To Provide More Analysis
BREAKING DOWN THE BROADCAST: In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones writes, "Who's producing the opening show for Fox, Ken Burns? Bad enough that we had to sit through that syrupy 'baseball unites us' drivel with voice-overs from John McCain and Barack Obama before Game 1, we had to sit through it again before Game 2. Now we're starting to dread that Fox is going to do this before every game. Even worse, they downgraded from Michael Douglas helping to narrate to Kiefer Sutherland" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 10/24). But in Orlando, Dave Darling writes, "I loved Fox's preamble to Game 1 Wednesday blending our national pastime with history and politics. Come to think of it, it's the only time I haven't felt ill after hearing John McCain or Barack Obama speak" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 10/24). Meanwhile, the GLOBE & MAIL's William Houston writes Fox analyst Tim McCarver's work in Game One was "no more than adequate." On the first play of the game that "really required analysis -- a fielding mix-up by [Phillies P] Cole Hamels and [1B] Ryan Howard -- McCarver provided nothing, aside from a rehash of what happened" (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/24).

VALUABLE INFORMATION: In L.A., Tom Hoffarth profiles Fox on-field reporter Ken Rosenthal and notes the net's use of him "isn't so much a necessary evil as it is keeping viewers ahead of the curve with more-than-credible information gathered by someone who does the heavy lifting." Rosenthal worked at the Baltimore Sun and Sporting News before joining Fox in '05, and Fox Producer Pete Macheska said, "He really does get me focused each game, finding information in places we wouldn't normally go" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 10/24).

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