SBD/October 31, 2011/Media

Fox' World Series Avg. Rating Up 19%; Game 7 Marks Best MLB Audience Since '04

Fox finished with a 10.0 final Nielsen rating and 16.6 million viewers for the seven-game Cardinals-Rangers World Series, up 19% and 16%, respectively, from last year’s five-game Giants-Rangers series. The series also saw double-digit percentage increases for the net across all key adult and male demos, as well as a 30% jump among boys 12-17. The 10.0 average marks the third-lowest rated World Series on record. Game Seven on Friday night earned a 14.7 rating and 25.4 million viewers, marking MLB’s highest-rated and most-viewed game since Fox earned an 18.2 rating and 28.8 million viewers for the Red Sox’ World Series clincher in ’04. The game gave Fox its highest-rated Friday night ever and marked the highest-rated Friday night on any net since the Opening Ceremony of the '10 Vancouver Games on NBC. Game Seven also delivered Fox the highest-rated and most-viewed night of primetime on any net so far this TV season and the net’s best primetime audience since the “American Idol” finale last May (THE DAILY).
WORLD SERIES RATINGS TREND ON FOX
YEAR
MATCHUP
GAMES
RATING
VIEWERS (000)
'11
Cardinals-Rangers
7
10.0
16,600
'10
Giants-Rangers
5
8.4
14,300
'09
Yankees-Phillies
6
11.7
19,400
'08*
Phillies-Rays
5
8.4
13,635
'07
Red Sox -Rockies
4
10.6
17,123

NOTES: * = Game Five in '08 was suspended after 5 1/2 innings. Play was concluded two nights later. A combined rating was issued for both nights of Game Five.

WORLD SERIES GAME SEVEN RATINGS TREND
YEAR
MATCHUP
NET
NIGHT
RATING
'11
Cardinals-Rangers
Fox
Fri.
14.7
'02
Angels-Giants
Fox
Sun.
17.9
'01
D'Backs-Yankees
Fox
Sun.
23.5
'97
Marlins-Indians
NBC
Sun.
24.5


BLAME THE NIGHT: The GLOBE & MAIL’s Bruce Dowbiggin notes Cardinals-Rangers Game Seven was the lowest-rated World Series Game Seven ever, though part of that “can be blamed on Friday night, a traditionally weak night for TV viewing” (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/31). In St. Louis, Dan Caesar wrote Game Seven “probably would have been rated even higher had it been played Thursday, when it originally had been scheduled.” A Fox official had estimated that a Friday Game Seven “would draw about a 10 percent lower rating than if it was played Thursday.” Fox Sports Media Group Vice Chair Ed Goren said, "We're in line with financial projections, which is somewhat surprising because we didn't have the big (Eastern markets of) New York, Boston or Philadelphia.” Caesar noted Game Seven still “fell well short of the rating for the last winner-take-all Series contest, when Fox registered a 17.9 figure for Anaheim's 4-3 victory over San Francisco” in ‘02. But Goren said that Fox “sold out its Series advertising early this year and he added that combined with the American League title series that Fox carried, advertising interest is 'stronger than ever’” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/30).

THE REVIEWS ARE IN
: In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones writes Fox' Joe Buck and Tim McCarver “seem to be a lightning rod for critics,” but it is "hard to imagine any broadcasters could have done better calling [of] the already classic 2011 World Series.” What makes Buck and McCarver “so good is they never try to act bigger than the event they are calling.” They “inform and entertain, but they ultimately complement the games, not dominate them” (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 10/31). However, in N.Y., Phil Mushnick wrote, “Darn if McCarver and Buck didn’t have problems with Texas manager Ron Washington’s decisions, yet had overlooked Tony La Russa’s costlier blunders” (N.Y. POST, 10/30). Meanwhile, in N.Y., Bob Raissman wrote as good as they are on ESPN’s "Sunday Night Baseball," the "trio of Dan Shulman, Bobby Valentine and Orel Hershiser were even better working the World Series on ESPN Radio.” Much of this “has to do with Shulman, who really showed his radio play-by-play chops.” His descriptions, his tone and “ability to get the most out of his analysts, only enhanced a dramatic Series.” Shulman “worked some of his own observations into the broadcasts” and “kept things simple while making strong points.” Like when “he explained what’s led to [Rangers Manager] Ron Washington’s success the past two seasons.” Shulman said, “He has a knack of making players believe in him” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/29).

THIS ONE FITS: Buck said that during Thursday’s Game Six, when he echoed his father Jack Buck by saying, “We will see you tomorrow night" following Cardinals 3B David Freese's game-winning home run was “a key moment for him when he followed through.” Buck said that the call “wasn’t something he had considered for a long time.” Buck: “I think I started thinking about it … in the ninth inning. I have become smart enough in all these years of doing it that you can’t in any way shape or form force anything. It has to be right, it has to fit.” He added, “I don’t really consider it some crowning achievement. I’m not going to become like a Jack Buck cover band, and start doing his calls whenever I can cram one in. I felt like this one fit, it was clean in this situation” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/29). Buck added, “It just came out. It was in the back of my mind, but it’s always in the back of my mind. But it’s got to fit. ... You have to be in the moment. You just have to trust your instincts that you’re going to say the right thing. In N.Y., Lynn Zinser wrote once Buck said the line, it "struck many people as just the right thing.” McCarver said, "To see him enjoy that moment and get to remember his dad that way was what made it so wonderful" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/29).

ISN'T IT IRONIC? In Miami, Adam Beasley wrote “the height of irony" came during Game Six of the World Series. DirecTV “just happens to be a major advertiser of the event’s broadcast, and at one point Fox broadcasters dutifully thanked their sponsor before going to break.” The very next commercial was “an ad from News Corp. warning viewers that their favorite sports channels could soon be lost” due to a dispute over carriage fees (MIAMI HERALD, 10/30).

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