SBD/Issue 172/Sports Media

Fox Execs To Meet With Bud Selig To Address MLB Ratings Slump

Ratings for Fox' Saturday afternoon MLB telecasts are "off 9% to date from last season, and 23% from 2000," and Fox Sports Senior VP/Media Relations Lou D'Ermilio indicated that network execs "will head to Milwaukee next week to strategize with [MLB] Commissioner Bud Selig about reversing the downward trends," according to Matthew Futterman of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. With MLB attendance "down about 4%, one might assume that television ratings would be up." But renewed interest in the NBA and NHL playoffs "might have postponed the general sports fans' usual springtime turn of attention to baseball." D'Ermilio said the purpose of the meeting with Selig is to "find a way to boost the ratings for the All-Star Game and the World Series." Futterman noted plans include "showing baseball movies on Sunday afternoons on Fox's sister channel FX, and promotional ads with broadcasters Joe Buck and Tim McCarver." Fox said that it is "less concerned with the shrinking Saturday audience, since the regular season games represent about 10% of the value of the $255[M] annual rights fee the network pays." MLB Exec VP/Business Tim Brosnan "called the meetings routine and said it was too early in the season to draw any conclusions" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/26).'s Rob Neyer wrote Fox' problem is that MLB "has become more parochial with each passing season." Neyer: "Twenty or 30 years ago, you watched games between teams you didn't love because those games were often all your had. ... But with the proliferation of the local team's games on cable and satellite and the Web, you can now watch almost every single game your favorite team plays, if you like. So why bother with some Saturday afternoon game between the Giants and the Phillies?" (, 5/26).

EAST VS. WEST: In Boston, Bob Ryan addressed the start times for NLCS and World Series games on Fox this season being moved to 7:57pm ET. Ryan: "For decades upon decades, people from the East Coast have made all the viewing sacrifices. Those West Coast dilettantes haven't been asked to make any. It's time those pampered PDT/PSTers had to live with World Series, baseball playoffs, NBA Finals, and Final Four starting times that either a) prevent normal working people from seeing the finish of games or b) preclude the youth of America from watching these games at all. That's the reality of life on the East Coast" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/24).

Return to top

Related Topics:


Video Powered By - Castfire CMS Powered By - Sitecore

Report a Bug