SBD/Issue 37/Sports Media

Fox Draws 10.6 Overnight For Giants-Rangers World Series Clincher

Giants' World Series Clincher Down From
The Previous Two Game Five Overnights

Fox earned a 10.6 overnight Nielsen rating last night for the World Series-clinching Giants-Rangers Game Five. The 10.6 overnight is down 17% from a 12.8 overnight for Yankees-Phillies Game Five last year's and off 5% from Phillies-Rays Game Five in '08, which began on a Monday and finished on a Wednesday following a weather delay. Fox' broadcast last night beat out ESPN's Texans-Colts "MNF" matchup last night, which drew an 8.6 overnight. Giants-Rangers drew a 37.9 local rating in S.F.-Oakland-San Jose and a 31.3 rating in Dallas-Ft. Worth. Through five games, the Giants-Rangers World Series on Fox is down around 25% in overnight ratings from last year, but up around 3% from Phillies-Rays in '08 (THE DAILY).

FOUR SQUARE: Fox earned a 9.0 fast-national Nielsen rating and 15.5 million viewers for Sunday night's Giants-Rangers Game Four, marking the fourth time in as many games that Fox ended up winning the night among all nets. Giants-Rangers is also expected to be Fox' best Sunday night viewership since last January's NFC Championship game telecast. Through four World Series telecasts, Fox is averaging an 8.3 rating (14.1 million viewers), down 28% from Yankees-Phillies at the same point last year, but up 2% from Phillies-Rays in '08 (Fox) .SportsCorp President Marc Ganis asked, "What is going on with ratings? Why are television ratings for playoff games so difficult to move up? Why can they not get that needle up?" (Bloomberg TV, 11/2). 

EARLY START HAS BENEFITS: Giants President & COO Larry Baer said yesterday the early start time for Game Three of the World Series Saturday was worth the experiment, despite the 6.7 national rating for the game standing as the second-worst mark in World Series history. Baer, who has a professional background in broadcasting, said of the 6:57pm ET start, "You can't have it both ways and you have to try new things. To have a game over by 10pm on the East Coast, I think is a great thing. Out on the West Coast, we have a strong fan base among kids, and we think it's in part because they're able to see a lot of the games. Sampling is very important." But Fox Sports execs, according to industry sources, were disappointed with the results of the game, which was the earliest start time for a World Series contest since '87. Quarter-hour ratings for viewers under 18 showed far better results later in the game, highly consistent with total audience marks for the event, as well as years of prior sports television research. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig Sunday was noncommittal on the notion of repeating the plan next year (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

FOX REVIEW: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Tim Goodman writes Fox' World Series coverage was "visually satisfying," as the "camera work, replays and isolation coverage has been spot-on." Goodman: "Unfortutely, the announcing has been as grating as expected. There are not a lot of die-hard baseball fans who want to hear Tim McCarver talk about anything." He adds play-by-play announcer Joe Buck "does a better job but nothing on par with, say, local announcers or someone like Jon Miller" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 11/2).

SLICE OF TEXAS: In Ft. Worth, Bud Kennedy wrote "longhorn cattle and rodeo bull riding at Billy Bob's Texas dominated the pregame scenes" of Fox' broadcast of Saturday's Game Three. But with "no stunning scenery to show besides another stadium, Fox's cameras focused mostly inside the retro Rangers Ballpark in Arlington." Viewers during Game Three, "instead of boats in McCovey Cove or tourists at Ghirardelli Square, ... saw angles of the stadium and nearby youth ballpark, plus a longhorn steer scratching on a tree." Fox Sports director Bill Webb before the game said that he "wanted to showcase 'this beautiful stadium'" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 10/31).

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