SBD/October 24, 2013/Media

Fox Sees 7% Overnight Rating Uptick For World Series Game 1 Despite Blowout

Game 1 opened with an 8.5 rating, up 13% from the initial tune-in from '12
The World Series got off on a good note for Fox, as the net earned a 9.4 overnight rating for the Red Sox’ 8-1 win over the Cardinals in Game 1 last night. That is up 7% from last year’s Giants-Tigers opener, though it is down from a 9.6 overnight for the Cardinals-Tigers opener in ’11 and a 10.4 rating for Giants-Rangers Game 1 in ’10 (both aired on a Wednesday night). Last night’s game is projected to give Fox a win in primetime and deliver the net’s highest-rated program for the current TV season to date. Wednesday night is also projected to be Fox’ best Wednesday night since an episode of “American Idol” in March.  Game 1 opened with an 8.5 rating, which was up 13% from the initial tune-in at the start of last year’s Game 1. The peak rating (10.6) came during the 9:00-9:30pm ET window, but went lower after that as the Red Sox increased their lead. The game closed with a 7.4 rating from 11:00-11:30pm. Locally, the telecast earned a 39.7 rating in Boston and a 36.0 in St. Louis. In ’11, the St. Louis market drew a 47.3 local rating for Game 1. In ’07, Boston drew a 50.4 local rating for the World Series opener. Meanwhile, data from Facebook shows there were five million interactions from 2.6 million unique users on the social media platform around Game 1. Men 25-34 and 35-44 led all buzz/chatter. (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

WORLD SERIES GAME 1 OVERNIGHT RATING TREND ON FOX
YEAR
MATCHUP
NIGHT
RATING
'13
Red Sox-Cardinals
Wed.
9.4
'12
Giants-Tigers
Wed.
8.8
'11
Cardinals-Rangers
Wed.
9.6
'10
Giants-Rangers
Wed.
10.4
'09
Yankees-Phillies
Wed.
13.8
'08
Phillies-Rays
Wed.
10.3
'07
Red Sox-Rockies
Wed.
11.8
'06
Cardinals-Tigers
Sat.
8.6
 

TEMPER RATINGS EXPECTATIONS
: ESPN's Keith Olbermann said while "everything that TV has touched has exploded in the last few decades ... Major League Baseball has managed to basically kill off what was not just this country's greatest sporting event, but its ultimate non-political shared national experience." Olbermann said MLB and Fox "will be ecstatic if they can average" 10-12 million viewers for the World Series and "they're not even dreaming what they got the last time these two teams met in 2004 which was about 17 million households" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 10/23). Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw noted the World Series is a compelling matchup to "hardcore baseball fans," but he predicted it would not be a "big ratings series." Cowlishaw said, "It's not going to approach that 15.0 these teams got back in 2004 when the Red Sox finally broke through." A World Series game could air against the NFL as many as four times, and "going against football is never good." Regardless of whether the football games are good, NFL fans "watch the NFL, and that's going to hurt." Columnist Kevin Blackistone said the World Series would "have been more compelling, had more juice nationally," if the Dodgers were playing. But Blackistone said the ALCS and NLCS "were all great series, great games, they were very compelling." ESPN's Israel Gutierrez noted MLB is the most regional sport among the four major pro team sports in the U.S., though the "highest concentration of that number is in the Northeast." Gutierrez: "Basically fans are watching their local teams and that's it, so you're not going to get people from California, from Oregon and from that part of the country to watch Red Sox-Cardinals." He did note the presence of the Red Sox "will bump up the number some" due to their national appeal, but there is not a "whole lot of appeal for the Cardinals" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 10/23). CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman said, "What I think gets national people in -- I’m not sure there’s a big face for the Cardinals here. I get it with [Dustin] Pedroia and David Ortiz to some extent, but what’s sexy about the Cardinals and about this series? I’m not sure there is anything” (“Rome,” CBSSN, 10/23).

BACK WHERE IT ALL BEGAN: In Boston, Chad Finn notes former MLBer Mike Lowell is "watching and studying the latest Red Sox entrant in the Fall Classic as an analyst for the MLB Network." Lowell is "articulate and insightful" and has a "baseball sense that comes through during his appearances on MLB Network, which isn’t a full-time gig by his choosing." Lowell, who will be in St. Louis on duty for Games 3-5, said, "Once a month I fly into (New Jersey, where the studios are) for a handful of days. It’s new and exciting, but I don’t know if I’d still have the love of the game if I were doing it 30 days in a row" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/24).

INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Scott Roxborough reports Fox Int'l Channels has "inked a new exclusive, multi-year agreement" with MLB Int'l for rights to games across 30 European territories. The new deal kicks off with the World Series, but "will include rights for all upcoming MLB games," including the All-Star Game, Home Run Derby, Wild Card matchups, LDS and LCS across multiple platforms. The games will "go out on FIC’s sports speciality channels, which FIC has been expanding in Europe." Fox Sports recently "launched in the Netherlands and Italy and is also on air in Turkey and Cyprus" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 10/24).
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