SBD/October 28, 2013/Media

Fox' World Series Game 4 Overnight Rating Beats Out NBC's "Sunday Night Football"

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Game 4's 8:15pm ET scheduled start was the latest for any '13 World Series game

Fox earned a 10.5 overnight rating for the Red Sox’ win over the Cardinals in Game 4 of the World Series, essentially flat with last year’s series-clinching Giants-Cardinals Game 4. Both games aired up against NBC “SNF” telecasts. The 10.5 rating is the best for any ’13 World Series game thus far. The last non-clinching Game 4, a Cardinals-Rangers game in '11, drew a 10.1 overnight, while Game 4 in ’10 (Giants-Rangers) drew a 10.4 overnight. Red Sox-Cardinals Game 4 had a lead-in from Fox' NFL national window (17.5 rating), which featured Redskins-Broncos. Last year's Game 4 had a lead-in from a national window featuring Giants-Cowboys (18.8 rating). Game 4 last night drew a 46.7 local rating in St. Louis and a 34.7 rating in Boston. Through four games, Fox is averaging a 9.5 overnight rating, up 7% from an 8.9 rating for the Giants’ sweep (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

PICKED OFF: Blogger Ed Sherman writes Fox for years “has been criticized for its quick-cut players/fan reaction shots between pitches,” and the technique “came back to bite the network” last night as it missed the final play of the game, a pick-off at first base. Fox “lingered a bit too long” on a crowd shot, and “all of the sudden, Joe Buck yelled out and there was a quick shot of Mike Napoli applying the tag to Kolten Wong from a terrible camera angle.” Viewers “never saw Koji Uehara turn and make the throw for the dramatic pick-off.” However, the “reality is that all the networks show player/manager/fan reaction shots between pitches,” so what happened to Fox “could have happened to any of them” (SHERMANREPORT.com, 10/28). The L.A. Daily News' Tom Hoffarth wrote, "Fox cameras too busy watching crowd reaction got picked off by the game-ending pickoff #karma." The San Diego Union-Tribune's Jay Posner wrote, "That serves Fox right ... one too many useless crowd shots and they missed the walk-off pickoff." The San Jose Mercury News' Tim Kawakami wrote, "Fox was caught leaning, too." Deadspin's Timothy Burke wrote, "In Fox's defense, the international feed missed the pickoff too. It was zoomed in on Uehara's face & didn't change cams until after the play."

TRIPPED UP: SI.com's Richard Deitsch noted MLB Network, following the controversial ending to Game 3, "inexplicably did not air the MLB umpires press conference live," while ESPNews "aired most of it." MLB Net "did eventually show some clips from the news conference -- and did have a live, on-set softball interview" with Exec VP/Baseball Operations Joe Torre, which was "a nice get -- but what a missed opportunity." Deitsch: "If you are selling yourself as the baseball network of record ... how can you not show a press conference involving one of the most controversial calls in baseball history live and in its entirety?" (SI.com, 10/27). In Tampa, Tom Jones notes MLB Net's host Greg Amsinger and analysts Harold Reynolds and Kevin Millar "practically tripped over themselves supporting the call" during the Torre interview. Jones: "Now, certainly, if the three thought it was a good call, that's fine." But that is "not their role while Torre is on the set." Their role is "to push, prod and challenge Torre." Their role is to "think like the viewers and ask any and all questions, not to act like shills for MLB." This was "one of the biggest moments in baseball history." That is "not an overstatement." These three "failed miserably to do their jobs" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 10/28). "Fox NFL Sunday" broke away from football coverage just ten minutes into yesterday's show, as Ken Rosenthal interviewed Torre and World Series crew chief umpire John Hirschbeck (THE DAILY).

LATE TO THE PARTY: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick wrote MLB’s "TV money addiction has left the World Series devalued." Consider that yesterday's Game 4 was scheduled for 8:15pm -- "even later than ESPN’s absurd regular season Sunday night starts." It was the "latest scheduled start of any of this year’s World Series games." The game started at that time because Fox "first had to clear its NFL games that begin at 4:25" (N.Y. POST, 10/27). Mushnick, regarding Game 3's finish, wrote under the header, "Fantastic Series Game Finish Too Late For Many To See" (N.Y. POST, 10/28). In Raleigh, Barry Saunders writes under the header, "Start The World Series Games Earlier." The "biggest fix that needs to be made" to the World Series "is the starting time of games." With games "beginning at 8 p.m., some are not over until after midnight." Saunders: "How are you going to cultivate younger fans ... if many of them are already in dreamland by the time it ends?" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 10/28).

WEATHER WARNING
: SI.com's Deitsch noted with kickoff for Texas Tech-Oklahoma on Saturday "delayed for one hour 15 minutes because of concern that lightning in the area could reach the stadium, Fox's college football coverage ... eventually finished on the Fox News Channel because of the network's commitment to the World Series." Deitsch: "Why opt for Fox News Channel instead of FXX?" Fox Sports PR said that it made the decision "because of the channel reach: Fox News Channel is in 97 million households while FXX is in 72 million" (SI.com, 10/27).

LAST CALL: In Denver, Dusty Saunders writes Fox analyst Tim McCarver's departure "isn't producing a wave of verbal and written bouquets." Some critics "contend he occasionally misidentifies players, is too wordy and is not as concise with analysis as Vin Scully." One critic "noted that if you ask McCarver what time it is, he'll tell you how the watch was made." However, "few baseball broadcasters have displayed McCarver's uncanny knack for anticipating plays, particularly during the World Series." And McCarver can "display an agile memory, particularly when it comes" to the Cardinals (DENVER POST, 10/28).

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