SBD/Issue 19/Sports Media

MLB Divisional Games On TBS Up 11.8% In Metered-Market Ratings

Yesterday's three MLB Divisional Series (LDS) games on TBS averaged a 3.8 metered-market rating, up 11.8% from a 3.4 rating for the three games last year. The Rockies-Phillies game earned a 15.5 local rating in the Philadelphia market and a 5.9 rating in Denver. Twins-Yankees delivered a 13.4 rating in N.Y and a 21.6 rating in Minneapolis-St. Paul. The day's final matchup, Cardinals-Dodgers, delivered a 20.0 rating in St. Louis and a 9.6 rating in L.A. The chart below lists metered-market (overnight) ratings for yesterday's slate of LDS games on TBS, with comparisons to the games in similar time slots on the first day of LDS games last year (THE DAILY).

'09 GAME
'08 GAME
% +/-
Red Sox-Angels

OPENING DAY JITTERS: In L.A., Diane Pucin writes of TBS' coverage of Cardinals-Dodgers, "What was up with some jumpy glitches?" Pucin added, "Wasn't so crazy about PitchTrax, the graphic in the lower right corner that showed pitch location. To even see what the graphic was called, had to squat in front of a 37-inch high-definition TV and squint." But Pucin "loved the camera work" and analyst Bob Brenly's comments during the game. Meanwhile, Brenly in the top of the fourth inning "spoke glowingly about how this was the first time he'd seen" Dodger Stadium full at the first pitch despite cameras showing "grand spans of empty bleacher seats and then at least 14 empties behind home plate" (L.A. TIMES, 10/8).

STARING AT THE SUN: Turner Broadcasting Senior VP/PR Sal Petruzzi said that the "position of the sun caused brief disruptions in the satellite signal" during Rockies-Phillies, "leading to a blacked-out screen or a pixelated image for some viewers." Petruzzi said that solar interference "happens for a few days every fall and spring, potentially interrupting television broadcasts." The situation could occur again today, with the "period of potential disruption" lasting from about 4:10-5:10pm ET. Petruzzi said that "any difficulties are expected to last only 2 to 5 minutes" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 10/8).

ROCKY RADIO COVERAGE: In Albany, Pete Dougherty wrote ESPN's Chris Berman, who called Rockies-Phillies on ESPN Radio, seemed intent on engaging analyst Rick Sutcliffe "in conversation, which works on TV but not radio." Berman's "descriptions of pitches were lacking, and he was slow to reveal where a batted ball was heading." Berman's style "works fine in the NFL studio, and he has a Grade A radio voice, but in the postseason especially we should be hearing experienced baseball broadcasters." Dougherty: "Berman is not, and it shows" (, 10/7).

TBS' 6.5 Million Viewers For Twins-Tigers
Marks Best For MLB Tiebreaker Since '98
TIEBREAK THRILLER: TBS drew a 4.2 U.S. rating and 6.543 million viewers for Tuesday's Tigers-Twins AL Central tiebreaker game, marking the most-viewed regular-season game on broadcast or cable during the '09 MLB season. The 4.2 rating and 6.543 million viewers were up 56% and 57%, respectively, over last year's Twins-White Sox AL Central tiebreaker. Tigers-Twins earned a 27.1 local rating in the Minneapolis-St. Paul market and a 24.6 rating in the Detroit market (TBS). The GLOBE & MAIL's Bruce Dowbiggin noted TBS announcers Chip Caray and Ron Darling during the game "posted a few errors of their own." Darling "raved about a crucial called strike-three from Twins closer Joe Nathan -- even as the TV screen showed that the pitch was a good six inches off the strike zone," while Caray in the 10th inning "called what was clearly a Twins fly ball a hit" (, 10/7).

MISGUIDED DECISION: The NATIONAL POST's Jeremy Sandler notes "tens of thousands of viewers"on Rogers Sportsnet were unable to watch Tigers-Twins, as Sportsnet only offered the game "on its East and West regional feeds, but not on Sportsnet Ontario or Pacific" (NATIONAL POST, 10/8). In Toronto, Chris Zelkovich writes under the header, "Leaving Ball Fans In Dark Bad Move By Sportsnet." Rogers Sportsnet Ontario Tuesday "chose to a show a combination of Bob McCown's radio-show-on-TV offering, taped boxing and other archived filler" instead of Tigers-Twins, resulting in "irate baseball fans across" Canada. Sportsnet VP/Content David Akande: "We've got four national channels that we're trying to move in the marketplace. I've got to do two things: I've got to confirm for the people who have multi-channels that it's of value. And for the 3 to 4 million (Sportsnet subscribers) who don't have multi-channels, I have to provide incentive for them to get it." Zelkovich writes, "It doesn't get much plainer than that: Subscribe to our extra channels and you get to watch all kinds of stuff. Don't subscribe and you get stuck with filler" (TORONTO STAR, 10/8).

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