SBD/Issue 176/Sports Media

Primetime Earns Fox Best MLB Regular-Season Rating Since August

Yankees-Mets In Primetime Earns Fox Best
MLB Regular-Season Audience Since July '08

Fox earned a 2.7 final Nielsen rating and 4.309 million viewers for its Saturday primetime MLB regional coverage, marking the net's best Saturday MLB rating since Aug. 8 last year, when the net earned a 2.7 rating (3.962 million viewers) for its afternoon telecast featuring Red Sox-Yankees in 88% of U.S markets. Saturday night's telecast featured Yankees-Mets in 49% of markets, and Cubs-Rangers in 23%. The 4.309 million viewers also marks the top MLB regular-season audience since the Fox' coverage on July 5, 2008, when the net earned a 3.0 rating and 4.538 million viewers for its afternoon window also featuring Red Sox-Yankees. Saturday's primetime telecast is up 42.1% from a 1.9 rating on the comparable Saturday afternoon last year, which fell on Memorial Day weekend. Among all primetime telecasts on broadcast TV for the week ending May 23, Fox' MLB coverage ranked 68th, and also ranked as the fifth highest-rated program on Saturday night (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

ROLLING THE DICE: Red Sox P Daisuke Matsuzaka Saturday took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Phillies, and SPORTINGNEWS.com's Dan Levy wrote, "Any fan of the game had to be interested in a potential no-hitter, so why not flip the switch to let Extra Innings pick up the action from the seventh inning on? Why couldn't Fox throw that game on FX or another channel and alert fans to go there? Or, what seemed to make the most sense, why not throw the game on MLB Network for those not getting the game on Fox?" Fox Sports Senior VP/Media Relations Lou D'Ermilio said, "We provided each of our other games several cut-ins to the Sox-Philly game. We also planned to carry the bottom of the ninth nationally had the no-hitter been intact. Our exclusivity on Saturdays exists to protect our local affiliates. It's a contractual stipulation that was agreed to by MLB and by extension each of the clubs." Levy wrote, "In the case of a special baseball event -- like a potential no-hitter or perfect game -- Major League Baseball should be able to step in and put the Fox production on their network" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 5/24).

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