Broken bat for Fox

Five-game Series another ratings loser

After a somewhat promising opening weekend, the World Series on Fox went out with a whimper and continued the Fall Classic’s overall downward ratings trend.

The St. Louis Cardinals’ surprise three-game sweep of their home games meant the Series did not extend to at least a sixth game for the third consecutive year. And that, according to at least one sports consultant, was expected to put Fox “tens of millions of dollars in the red” (Daily Variety, Oct. 23).

Fox had reason to be optimistic when the best-of-seven series was tied at one win apiece, but the Cardinals’ strong run at home put an end to what ratings momentum the series had been building and left America’s so-called pastime with its smallest average audience on record for a second straight season.

Friday’s 4-2 title-clinching victory for the Cardinals averaged an 11.4 household rating/19 share in Nielsen’s metered-market overnights — a 26% falloff from Game 5 of the 2003 World Series between the New York Yankees and Florida Marlins (15.4/23), the last time the Series went to a fifth game.

Game delivered a 4.3/13 in adults 18-49 and 14.4 million viewers overall on Fox’s affils from 8:30-11 p.m., with the national numbers expected to rise a bit when issued by Nielsen today.

For the World Series as a whole, Fox’s five-game overnight household rating and share (11.0/18) was down 16% from the four-game average from last year (13.1/21), when the Chicago White Sox swept the Houston Astros.

In total viewers, this year’s series will come in short of 16 million, down from 17.2 million for last year. Prior to last season, the lowest average audience was 18.1 million for the 2000 “Subway Series” between the New York Yankees and New York Mets.

Fox, hopeful that its recent run of short Series will soon come to an end, recently signed an eight-year deal with Major League Baseball that will keep the World Series on its air for the next seven seasons.

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