SBD/October 27, 2010/Media

Rangers-Giants WS Faces Obstacles To Being A Ratings Bonanza

Fox Expects Ratings To Increase As World Series Progresses Into Later Games
There are "few indications" the Rangers-Giants World Series "will be a television ratings bonanza" for Fox, including the fact the two biggest markets in the U.S. "present problems," according to Diane Pucin of the L.A. TIMES. The News Corp.-Cablevision dispute means "about 3 million viewers in New York won't get the Series," and "because Dodgers fans hate the Giants, the L.A. market might be even worse." But N.Y. and L.A. "are not the only challenges." Sunday's Game Four will face off against the Steelers-Saints "SNF" game on NBC, and Game Five, if necessary, will be up against ESPN's Texans-Colts "MNF" broadcast. Fox Sports Media Group Vice Chair Ed Goren said that it is "not a secret the network needs a long series." Goren: "We saw in the NLCS, ratings in Game 6 were 70% higher than in Game 1. There is a direct relationship in the number of games and overall ratings. Initially ratings will be lower. As the Series builds, we'll be fine" (L.A. TIMES, 10/27). Goren added, "There's no question that there is a direct relationship with the number of games you get and your overall ratings. If we go six or seven games, we're going to come out of the World Series with strong ratings." Fox officials predicted that Sunday's Game Four "will actually benefit" by having Fox' NFL national window featuring Vikings-Patriots start at 4:15pm ET. The NFL game "should end about the time Fox's baseball game gets under way," and Fox Sports President Eric Shanks said that the "ability to tell Vikings-Patriots fans to stay tuned for baseball will benefit the network." Meanwhile, filmmaker Ken Burns "has written a special Game 1 open" (MLB.com, 10/26).

SERIES WORTH WATCHING
: CNBC's Darren Rovell discussed World Series ratings and said, "Everyone talks about, 'Oh, it's not a great matchup, it's not what people want.' What baseball really wants and what Fox wants is the casual viewer to get engaged. What you've seen is sometimes when it's not even the best teams, if it goes six or seven, that's when someone who doesn't normally watch baseball tunes in" ("Squawk Box," CNBC, 10/27). ESPN.com's Gene Wojciechowski wrote, "Watch. Don't watch. It's not like Joe Buck will send me a commission check if you do. But this World Series has yee-haw thrill ride written all over it" (ESPN.com, 10/26). In Dallas, Barry Horn writes, "We don't care if you don't watch the World Series. ... Don't watch the World Series. Your loss" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 10/27). In N.Y., Kevin Kernan writes, "Welcome to the people's World Series. The Rangers and Giants are a reality TV version of the World Series. Real teams with real players, some with real problems. It's not a superstar matchup, but it is a matchup worth watching." Rangers P C.J. Wilson, referring to the main character on HBO's "Eastbound & Down," said, "If there was a real life Kenny Powers, he'd be playing on one of these teams." Rangers RF Jeff Francouer: "Our success couldn't come at a better time than right now with the Cowboys being 1-5." Francouer noted Cowboys fans during the team's "MNF" against the Giants started chanting, "Let's Go Rangers." Rangers P Darren Oliver: "Everybody likes to see the Yankees in the World Series for some reason. I think it's good that people get to see a lot of other players this time" (N.Y. POST, 10/27).

EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE WORM: Tonight’s game begins at 7:57pm ET, and MLB Exec VP/Business Tim Brosnan said MLB Commissioner Bud Selig "is committed to making our sport family-friendly, and family-friendly means putting games on at a time when families can view." Brosnan: "The start time dictates the end time, and expecting people to stay as late as they may have for a game wasn't happening. We're experimenting with these start times as an attempt to bring families into the television viewership of the World Series" ("Squawk on the Street," CNBC, 10/27).

NEW VIEW: In Ft. Worth, Ray Buck reports Fox will introduce MLB CableCam for its coverage of the World Series. Shanks: "We're installing a football-style CableCam camera that can fly out over the field. You'll get a video-game view during certain points of the game." CableCam will debut tonight at AT&T for Game One, and MLB and Fox "established a few ground rules for CableCam, which will concentrate on the infield area between the pitcher's mound and home plate, plus foul territory near the dugouts." Shanks: "You'll see (CableCam shots) during dead-ball situations, when you know you're not going to interfere with anything in-play." Including CableCam, Fox will use 25 cameras for tonight's game (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 10/27).

SOCIAL STUDIES: USA TODAY's Jon Swartz notes Giants and Rangers fans "intend to get their fill of the 106th fall classic through Facebook groups, tweets and text messages." The MLB.com At Bat app, available on iPhone, iPad, Android and BlackBerry devices, is "being opened 1.9 million times a day." MLBAM President & CEO Bob Bowman said that "approximately 12 million people are either fans of MLB or one of its 30 teams on Facebook -- triple what it was a year ago." Three million people "have signed up to follow baseball-related tweets via MLB and its teams" (USA TODAY, 10/27).

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: TBS, led by coverage of the Rangers-Yankees ALCS, ranked as the No. 1 primetime cable net for the week ending Oct. 24 in average viewers (4.8 million), as well as among adults 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54. TBS' ALCS coverage concluded Friday with Game Six, which ranked as the No. 1 program on all of TV for the day and the No. 1 cable program for the week. TBS' overall coverage of the LDS and ALCS saw increases in viewers (9%), adults 18-34 (7%), adults 18-49 (5%) and adults 25-54 (8%). TBS now ranks as the No. 1 basic cable network in primetime delivery of adults 18-34 year-to-date (TBS). CABLEFAX DAILY notes TBS "easily conquered the cable competition" in primetime last week. Not only did the net "rout all channels" in ratings and viewership, but the net's Rangers-Yankees Games Four and Six "topped all cable telecasts" for the week. The games outperformed ESPN's Titans-Jaguars "MNF," which ranked No. 3 last week (CABLEFAX DAILY, 10/27).
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