LCS Four Play: Fox Down For Giants-Cards; Sweep On TBS Still Up
TBS wrapped up the ALCS Thursday with the Tigers’ sweep of the Yankees. The four-game set, which included two day games and two primetime games, averaged a 4.5 overnight Nielsen rating, up 36% from the six-game Cardinals-Brewers NLCS last year on the net. That series had five primetime games and only one day game. Thursday afternoon’s ALCS Game 4 drew a 4.1 overnight from 4:00-7:45pm. The game drew a 30.6 local rating in Detroit, which is the market’s best figure for a postseason game this year. N.Y. earned an 8.7 local rating. Meanwhile, a non-competitive game and competition from “Thursday Night Football” led to a sharp drop for Fox’ NLCS Game 4 on Thursday night. The Cardinals’ 8-1 win over the Giants earned a 4.2 overnight Nielsen rating, down 30% from the comparable Rangers-Tigers ALCS Game 4 last year, which aired on a Wednesday. The Giants-Cardinals matchup was also 29% lower than the 5.4 overnight earned by NFL Network’s Seahawks-49ers game Thursday night. Giants-Cardinals peaked at a 4.8 rating in the 10:00pm ET half-hour. In the S.F.-Oakland-San Jose market, the game earned an 11.9 local rating, while in St. Louis, the game earned a 41.2 rating (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).WEATHERING THE STORM: In St. Louis, Dan Caesar notes KTVI-Fox “tried to do the right thing Wednesday afternoon and took a major step in the right direction with restrained use of weather-related gizmos” during the telecast of Giants-Cardinals NLCS Game 3. Storms were “in the forecast when the pregame show aired, and weather info appeared on the screen.” But when “play began, KTVI soon removed the weather graphics and inserted them only briefly during the early stages of the telecast.” It was a “nice touch of self control.” As the game “progressed the weather became worse, and KTVI did end up with the map and scroll at times, but they weren't on the screen constantly” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/19).
TASTE TEST: In Albany, Pete Dougherty compares the postseason coverage from Fox and TBS and writes Fox has an "advantage" in play-by-play announcers. Fox “may be the only network that has a signature broadcaster the stature of the late Curt Gowdy.” When you hear Joe Buck's voice, “you figure it's a big event.” Ernie Johnson's fame “came from the NBA studio show on TNT.” While he has a “recognizable voice and is a smooth operator in the booth, Johnson doesn't have the baseball experience of Buck.” In examining both nets’ MLB analysts, Dougherty writes, “More voices isn't always better in a broadcast booth, but it seems to work for TBS.” Ron Darling may be “emerging as baseball's best analyst on a national stage.” While John Smoltz is “OK, TBS would be better not having two former pitchers as analysts.” TBS has the advantage, in part, because viewers are “getting far more insight from them" than Fox' Tim McCarver. When it comes to production, Fox “lost a lot of points with me for its center-field camera angle in St. Louis.” Dougherty: “The camera should never be directly in line with home plate, as the pitcher's head blocks the view. It's like trying to watch a game with someone walking in front of you before every pitch.” TBS “rates lower, though, because of frequent errors in graphics and what I perceive as a lack of experience in doing big games” (Albany TIMES-UNION, 10/19).
THE SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS: DEADSPIN.com’s Timothy Burke noted Fox used “old video” of an aerial shot of St. Louis during Wednesday’s Giants-Cardinals NLCS Game 3. Many aerial shots “weren't even filmed by the broadcasting network at all, but supplied to them by the local tourism bureau or acquired from stock image companies.” The director, for his or her part, has “no idea what footage the aerial reel contains.” It is “likely no aerial shots were usable” from Wednesday's game “due to the weather that led to its lengthy mid-game delay, so the stock footage well became the only way to provide the pretty arch shot” (DEADSPIN.com, 10/18).