SBD/November 1, 2013/Media

World Series Viewership Up 18% From Record-Low Giants-Tigers Audience In '12

Fox finished with an 8.9 rating and 14.9 million viewers for the six-game Red Sox-Cardinals World Series, up significantly from last year’s four-game sweep, the least-viewed Fall Classic on record. This year’s audience is up 17% and 18%, respectively, from a 7.6 rating and 12.7 million viewers for the Giants’ sweep of the Tigers. The Red Sox-Cardinals series is the fourth World Series over the last decade not to crack a double-digit rating. This year’s six-game set did see strong gains among male and adult demos compared to ’12. Fox also saw the average age of viewers for this year's series at an all-time high of 54.2, up from 53.4 last year. Fox had a small viewership decline among kids 2-11 (-3%), but an 8% gain among kids 12-17. The series-clinching Game 6 on Wednesday night finished with an 11.3 rating and 19.2 million viewers, giving Fox a win in primetime and the net’s best Wednesday night audience since May ’12. The last Game 6 -- an extra-inning Cardinals-Rangers contest in ’11 -- drew a 12.7 rating and 21.1 million viewers. Yankees-Phillies Game 6 in ’09 drew a 13.4 rating and 22.3 million viewers. For this year’s six-game set, the Boston market averaged a 39.6 local rating, which was topped by St. Louis’ 40.6 local rating. Fox Deportes also carried Red Sox-Cardinals Game 6 this year, delivering the Spanish-language net its best MLB game audience since Yankees-Phillies Game 2 in ’09. For Fox' entire 12-game MLB postseason coverage (World Series + ALCS), the net averaged a 6.8 rating and 11.2 million viewers, up 26% and 27%, respectively, from coverage last season (11 games) (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

WORLD SERIES AUDIENCE TREND ON FOX
YEAR
MATCHUP
GAMES
RATING
VIEWERS (000)
MEDIAN AGE
'13
Red Sox-Cardinals
6
8.9
14,900
54.2
'12
Giants-Tigers
4
7.6
12,660
53.4
'11
Cardinals-Rangers
7
10.0
16,645
52.5
'10
Giants-Rangers
5
8.4
14,268
52.6
'09
Yankees-Phillies
6
11.7
19,387
49.9
'08*
Phillies-Rays
5
8.4
13,635
50.5
'07
Red Sox-Rockies
4
10.6
17,123
49.7
'06
Cardinals-Tigers
5
10.1
15,812
51.5
'05
White Sox-Astros
4
11.1
17,162
49.8
'04
Red Sox-Cardinals
4
15.8
25,390
48.4

CHART NOTES: * = Game Five was suspended after 5 2/3 innings. Play was resumed on Wednesday night. The combined rating for both nights of Game Five was a 9.6/14 (15.8 million viewers).

A NICE RUN FOR MLB: NBCSPORTS.com’s D.J. Short noted last year’s World Series “didn’t have much drama to it, so it didn’t take much for this one to be a marked improvement by comparison.” Red Sox-Cardinals will "go down as the lowest-rated for a matchup that went at least six games.” However, it is "perfectly logical to see this as a sign of the times with television viewership on the whole as opposed to ‘sky is falling’ evidence of baseball’s downfall.” Short: “All in all, a pretty good month for MLB” (NBCSPORTS.com, 10/31). SB NATION's Rob Neyer wrote a nearly 20% bump in "overall postseason ratings is impressive, especially considering -- according to the conventional wisdom, anyway -- the absence of a New York (or Philadelphia) team in the festivities." Neyer: "Obviously, there are a lot of Red Sox fans and Cardinals fans, which had to help, generally. You'd really want to see a breakdown including every major market, to figure where that 20 percent is coming from. Wherever it comes from, though, 20 percent ain't small beer. Seems like maybe the old game's still got some life in 'er yet" (SBNATION.com, 10/31). Horizon Media Research Dir Brad Adgate noted, "According to TiVo the most watched moment of #WorldSeries was obstruction call to end Game 3 the play happened at 12:04AM (ET)" (TWITTER.com, 11/1).

THE SOCIAL NETWORK: Data from Facebook shows that over 11 million people had over 32 million interactions related to the '13 World Series. Nearly 62% of World Series chatter was about the Red Sox, compared to 38% for the Cardinals. Males ages 25-34 were the top demo for World Series buzz. Red Sox DH David Ortiz had the most buzz among all players, with Red Sox players taking eight of the top 10 spots (THE DAILY).
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