SBD/October 25, 2012/Media

Tigers-Giants Game 1 Overnight Marks Second-Lowest World Series Opener On Record

World Series opener leads Fox to best primetime figure since "Idol" finale

The Tigers-Giants World Series opener last night earned the second-lowest Game 1 overnight on record. Fox earned an 8.8 overnight from 8:00-11:30pm ET, down 8% from a 9.6 for Cardinals-Rangers Game 1 last year. It marks the second-lowest World Series opener ever, behind only the Cardinals-Tigers opener in ’06, which aired on a Saturday night. Last night’s game peaked during the 9:00pm and 9:30pm half-hours with a 9.7 rating. The telecast started with a 7.5 rating in the 8:00pm half-hour and was only down 3% heading into the 10:00pm hour, when a lopsided score led the net to finish with a 7.5 rating in the 11:00pm half-hour. Despite the lower overall number, Fox did win the night among all nets, averaging a 9.0 rating in primetime. Fox also earned its best night in primetime since the "American Idol" finale in May. The game earned a 32.3 local rating in the S.F.-Oakland-San Jose market and a 33.2 rating in Detroit. The game also earned a 25.4 rating in the Sacramento market (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

SOCIAL STUDIES: Game 1 generated 813,000 social media comments, making it the second-most discussed game on social media in MLB postseason history, trailing only last year's World Series Game 6. The game last night also generated more than five times as many public Facebook and Twitter comments as the next highest-ranking show on TV (+412%), and +79% more comments than the next nine most talked about shows on TV last night, according to data from Bluefin Labs. The three home runs from Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval sparked the biggest social media buzz, as 163,881 comments featured the words "Pablo," "Sandoval" or "Panda," representing 20.2% of all conversations around the game. On Twitter, #WorldSeries was the most widely-used hashtag of the night, featured in 15% of all comments (Karp).

MCCARVER IS A FAN-ILOW: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Tim Goodman wrote Fox' Joe Buck and Tim McCarver "are often a lightning rod for critics," and last night "they had one doozy." As AT&T Park's "noisy, sell-out crowd chanted 'Bar-ry! Bar-ry! Bar-ry!'" to Giants P Barry Zito, McCarver "accurately noted that such a chant was a real rarity for the formerly maligned pitcher." Buck said, “They used to say it for somebody else around here.” Goodman noted the reference "was clearly" to former MLBer Barry Bonds. However, McCarver followed up by saying, “When Barry Manilow was playing -- in a concert” (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 10/24). Comcast SportsNet Washington's Mark Zuckerman wrote on his Twitter account, "When you think they chanted 'Barry' in San Fran for Manilow, not Bonds ... you probably shouldn't be announcing the World Series anymore." Blogger Ed Sherman wrote, "At least Barry Manilow wasn't on steroids."

NO AVERAGE JOE: SI's Michael Rosenberg profiles Buck and notes he has "one of the most familiar voices in America -- it's the sound track to many of the biggest football games and the World Series." To a generation of fans, Buck is "the voice of fall." McCarver "marvels at his partner's ability to manage a game, to describe the action as it happens and to be witty without acting as if the game is just a backdrop for his comedy act." Buck "prepares like an A student." He "reads every story he can find on the teams in question, and quizzes managers and coaches about their plans." But when the light goes on, Buck "is not a prisoner of his research" (SI, 10/29 issue). Buck, when asked if the Giants are a tough sell to casual baseball fans, said, "I think the casual baseball fan latches onto a series … I think if there’s one thing we've learned doing this 17 years now, you need games and storylines to develop and you need to get to game six and seven. Then it doesn't matter who is playing, people really want to see the outcome. It has to build." Buck added, "I don’t worry about ratings at all, personally. But I’m a fan of my network, and the executives at my network being happy, and ratings has a part in that. I get both sides of it" (THEBIGLEAD.com, 10/24). During an acknowledgement last night at AT&T Park for Stand Up 2 Cancer, Buck and McCarver were shown on-air holding up signs for MLBPA Exec Dir Michael Weiner, who is fighting a brain tumor, and Mets Senior Media Relations Dir Shannon Forde, who is battling breast cancer (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

SWEET NEW TOYS
: BROADCASTENGINEERING.com's Michael Grotticelli reported Fox during its World Series coverage is "using a special high-frame rate SloMo camera rig put together by a specialty production company in Jacksonville, Vermont called Inertia Unlimited." The rig is called the “X-Mo” ultra slow-motion Phantom camera system. A "total of five" X-Mo systems will be used at both AT&T Park and Comerica Park. The X-Mo system will "provide the most compelling slow motion ever seen" (BROADCASTENGINEERING.com, 10/24). BLOOMBERG NEWS' Ira Boudway wrote baseball as a viewing spectacle "is more fragile than basketball or football," but both Fox and TBS "seem to understand this." There are "small variations in the approach between the two networks." Fox "goes for lots of super close-ups of the pitcher’s face, which can make the game feel like a Kevin Costner movie." TBS "tends toward wider angles that feel more like watching from the stands." Generally both "let the game fill the frame." Even when they "do get in the way, they’re trying to help." Fox is "a little too pleased with its new replay camera that captures 5,000 frames per second and slows the action down to an underwater crawl." TBS, for its part, "could probably do without the graphic in the lower left corner of the screen that shows the location of every pitch as it crosses the plate" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 10/24).

DREAM JOB(S): Fox' Erin Andrews said that her dual role that includes her serving as a dugout reporter during the World Series and hosting the net's Saturday college football show "has been a bit of a juggling act." Andrews: "This has been amazing, are you kidding? I was running around today and feeling like I wasn't getting enough stuff done, with this series and then for college football. I just thought to myself, 'I'm working Game 1 of the World Series.' I started skipping down the street. I was like, 'This is so exciting'" (MLB.com, 10/24).

YOU CAN'T SEE ME: In Connecticut, Greg Seigle notes Cablevision subscribers in the state are "shutout from watching the World Series." About 50,000 homes "couldn't watch the game at home due to the ongoing dispute between Cablevision and the Tribune Company, which has left Fox CT in the dark since Aug. 24." In a "last minute appeal Tuesday, Cablevision asked Tribune to lift the veil on Fox and let viewers see the games, but Tribune refused" (Litchfield County REGISTER CITIZEN, 10/25).
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