Will freeway series strike out?

Baseball a bit short, but still sweet

HOLLYWOOD — The baseball series between a pair of Cinderella stories, the Anaheim Angels and Minnesota Twins, may have been too short for Fox’s liking, but it’s contributed to some solid ratings for the net.

But the good fortune may not continue: Fox now faces the prospect of a World Series with two California teams — the San Francisco Giants eliminated the St. Louis Cardinals from contention on Monday night with a 2-1 victory.

The Angels and Giants may represent two of the nation’s five biggest markets (Los Angeles is No. 2, San Francisco is No. 5), but the combined national appeal of the teams is surely limited; two years ago, an all-New York matchup (Yankees-Mets) produced some record low ratings.

What’s worse, the schedule for all World Series has games starting outside of primetime on the West coast.

As for recent ratings, best-of-seven American League Championship Series ended in Game 5 Sunday, with the Angels rallying late for victory.

The World Series starts Saturday in Anaheim.

According to Nielsen nationals through Friday, Fox was up 13% year-to-year for its coverage of the Championship Series for the American and National leagues (7.1/12 to 6.3/12 in households). And the weekend’s scores were mostly up vs. a year ago as well.

For the entire postseason, Fox’s national rating of 6.5/12 is 16% higher than last year’s 5.6/11 and the best in three years. Demos are also looking good, with this year’s playoffs up 19% in men 18-34 (3.7 vs. 3.1) and 18% in men 18-49 (4.5 vs. 3.8).

The highest rating for any single playoff game this round was Sunday’s primetime NLCS matchup between St. Louis and San Francisco, which logged an 8.0/12 in metered-market overnights — up 27% vs. last year’s comparable matchup (Arizona-Atlanta).

St. Louis gave it a local rating of 34.4/45, while the Bay Area delivered a 21.7/37.

Earlier in the day, the fifth and final game between the surprising Angels and Twins delivered a 7.1/13 in overnights, a 4% increase from the Seattle Mariners-New York Yankees matchup last year. That’s all the more impressive given that baseball faced stiff competition from the NFL on CBS (Raiders-Rams in most of the country) and a NASCAR race on NBC.

Of note, the Angels delivered a 16.6/36 in Los Angeles on Fox’s KTTV, more than doubling the audience for the NFL matchup pitting the city’s two former teams (Rams and Raiders) on KCBS (7.8/17).

Game did a 31.6/56 in Minneapolis.

Meanwhile, the NFL continues to do well this season, with CBS’ doubleheader overnight average Sunday of 10.5/20 an 8% improvement vs. last year. And Fox’s single game (primarily Green Bay-New England) scored a 12.8/27, also up 8% year-to-year.

(Josef Adalian contributed to this report.)

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