SBD/October 7, 2011/Media

TBS' Tigers-Yankees Finale Marks Best MLB LDS Audience Since '05

Yankees' loss in Game Five marked best LDS audience on cable ever

TBS earned a 6.2 fast-national Nielsen rating and 9.7 million viewers for Thursday's night’s Tigers-Yankees ALDS Game Five, marking the highest-rated LDS game ever on cable TV and highest-rated LDS game of any sort since Fox’ telecast of Angels-Yankees Game Five in ’05, which earned an 8.9 rating and 13.7 million viewers. Thursday's game led TBS to a win in primetime among all cable nets, as well as a No. 3 ranking on all of TV. The game delivered an 18.3 local rating in N.Y. and a 27.6 rating in Detroit (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). However, ratings for the playoffs to date have been slightly down from last year, and USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand reports part of the LDS ratings decline “was predictable because this year’s postseason started on a Friday and ran into weekend football, compared to Wednesday starts in previous years.” Ratings for postseason series “tend to rise the longer a series lasts,” and TBS “lucked out by having three of the first-round series last five games, the first time that has happened since 2001” (USA TODAY, 10/7).

MIXED EMOTIONS
: In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes during the third inning of Tigers-Yankees Game Five after Yankees Manager Joe Girardi replaced P Ivan Nova with Phil Hughes, neither TBS' John Smoltz nor Ron Darling "offered a strong opinion on the move.” TBS covered Smoltz and Darling, however, “with a terrific replay of the shocked expression on [Tigers 1B] Miguel Cabrera’s face when he saw Hughes enter the game.” Raissman: “The picture was telling. But all Darling and Smoltz talked about was how Hughes was sent in to eat up innings.” During an in-game interview, Girardi said that he "took Nova out because the pitcher was experiencing tightness.” Darling said after the interview, “We were very surprised when he was taken out of the game. Now we know why.” But Raissman noted neither Darling nor Smoltz “ever said they were ‘surprised’ when Hughes replaced Nova." Raissman: “This is why the TBS analysts fell just a bit short in this ADLS series. Their analysis was first rate, but they rarely offered a strong opinion.” Meanwhile, TBS presented “a dramatic series of shots with the count at 1-2 on [Yankees 3B Alex] Rodriguez in the ninth.” The suspense level “was lifted when the three-man booth went silent.” After Rodriguez struck out, the camera "moved from the Tigers celebrating on the Yankee Stadium turf to the face of [2B Robinson] Cano watching what was going down.” Raissman noted, “Finally, the faces of stunned Yankees’ fans filled the screen. ... In a few seconds TBS beautifully captured the range of emotions” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/7).

PARTING WAYS: Fox will begin its coverage of the MLB postseason Saturday with Game One of the Tigers-Rangers ALCS, but there will be no online enhancements as the network is not participating in the Postseason.TV effort with MLBAM. For the past two seasons, Postseason.TV has been a successful joint effort between MLBAM, Fox and Turner, offering a variety of alternate camera angles, news, fantasy gaming and social media integration. And the product is back again this year with Turner for the LDS round and NLCS. But Fox and MLBAM execs said they were not able to come to contract terms for a return this year. Both sides declined to comment substantively on the nature of the failed negotiations (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

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