SBD/October 29, 2013/Media

Fox' World Series Game 5 Overnight Even With '11; Game 4 Ends Up Below "SNF" Figures

Fox' World Series Game 5 overnight ratings edged out those of ESPN's "MNF"
Fox earned a 10.0 overnight rating for last night’s Red Sox-Cardinals World Series Game 5, even from a 10.0 overnight for Cardinals-Rangers Game 5 in ’11, which remains the lowest-rated Game 5 in World Series history. Last night’s game is also down 5.6% from a 10.6 overnight for the series-clinching Giants-Rangers Game 5 in ’10. Red Sox-Cardinals Game 5 will deliver Fox a win in primetime for Monday night. Each of the last five World Series Game 5s have had competition from ESPN’s “MNF.” Last night’s Seahawks-Rams game drew a 7.6 overnight, including a 10.9 local rating in St. Louis. For World Series Game 5, the St. Louis market drew a 43.8 local rating, while Boston drew a 38.5 rating (THE DAILY).

FLIP THE SCRIPT
: Fox' Game 4 telecast finished with a 9.4 rating and 16.0 million viewers, marking the best World Series Game 4 since '09. While Game 4 beat NBC's "SNF" in the overnight ratings, it ended up losing to "SNF" when final ratings were released. NBC earned a 9.8 final rating and 16.9 million viewers for the Packers-Vikings "SNF." Sunday night's World Series telecast is up 6% and 3%, respectively, from the Giants' series-clinching win over the Tigers in Game 4 last year. The audience for Game 4 would mark the net's best primetime show since the "American Idol" premiere last January. Through four games, Fox is averaging an 8.4 final rating and 14.0 million viewers, up 11% and 10%, respectively, from the Giants-Tigers series in '12 (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

WHERE DRAMA LIVES: In Ohio, George Thomas noted the World Series "continues to be a winner" for WJW-Fox in the Cleveland-Akron market, with series-to-date ratings rising 11% over last year. It is "not difficult to surmise that heightened drama and freaky finishes might play a role in that success." Numbers should "only go higher given that Fox is now guaranteed the series will go at least six games." MLB Commissioner Bud Selig must be "paying homage to the baseball god about now" (OHIO.com, 10/28).

KEEP THE PAST IN THE PAST: NBCSPORTS.com's Craig Calcaterra wrote, "For reasons that continue to escape me, the doomsaying about World Series television ratings is fundamentally different from the conversation being had about any other TV show’s ratings." When "someone talks about, say, 'NCIS' or 'Two and [a] Half Men' they talk about its ratings compared to actually competing prime time shows." They "don’t compare it to 'All in the Family' in 1974 or 'MASH' in 1980." Yet for some reason MLB always is "judged against games from that era as if time had not passed." MLB as a TV product is "not competing for eyes or ad dollars with 1979." It is "competing with programming from 2013." As "far as that goes it’s doing quite well, thank you." In '12 -- a series which "many cite as a low water mark -- the World Series beat every entertainment show on the fall primetime schedule in multiple key age groups" (NBCSPORTS.com, 10/28).

ON THE LOOKOUT: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir notes Fox during Game 4 "committed a costly error on the game-ending pickoff play." Fox Sports Dir Bill Webb said, "The cut was late. I saw the play, but it was a late cut." He added, "It was very quick, between pitches, not even a normal throw over." Webb said that if he "had not been late to show the pickoff move, it would have been shown from a high camera along the first base line." Fox Baseball Coordinating Producer Pete Macheska said that the net would "continue to cut to fans and players to heighten tension between pitches." He added, “Baseball isn’t the quickest sport. If we stay on the field and don’t give all the reactions, it’s not as exciting as when we do. But do we aim to miss something? No." Meanwhile, Sandomir notes the obstruction sequence in Game 3 "was handled with greater aplomb." After Cardinals 1B Allen Craig doubled, Fox "fixated on the next batter, Jon Jay, and never left him." After Jay lifted a pop foul into the seats on the first pitch from Red Sox P Koji Uehara, Fox "stayed on him for 16 seconds ... before cutting to Uehara for five seconds and the runner on third base, Yadier Molina, for three." The final, multipart play was "a classic shot from the high home plate camera that panned and zoomed in and out to capture all of the play." Webb said, "You can’t cut on that play. If you cut, you take attention from where the ball is" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/29).

PERFECT BALANCE: In St. Louis, Dan Caesar notes one of Fox MLB analyst Tim McCarver's strong points has been "his ability to provide analysis that give viewers information they most likely don't know" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/29).
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