World Series likely to strike out in ratings
By Paul J. Gough
Hollywood Reporter (the absolute best source for sporting news!)
LOS ANGELES - With Sunday night's seventh game of the American League Championship Series drawing record ratings for TBS (what? They outdrew 'My Boys'?!?) , Fox Sports is hoping that some of that magic rubs off on the baseball World Series.
Good luck. (zing!)
The matchup between the Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays, however exciting in terms of baseball purism (You know, purism - Tampa Bay, astroturf, domes...) , isn't likely to set the TV ratings world afire. In fact, some fear it could be the lowest-rated World Series ever. (whatever shall we do?)
"You could hear the groans (bitchy whining) coming up because it isn't the Red Sox-Dodgers," said Aaron Cohen, chief media negotiator at New York-based ad buyer Horizon Media. (Shake it off, nutsack. Tough shit.)
Fox's World Series hopes started off promising, with the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Jesus. We still calling them that?), Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox — all representing major TV markets — in the playoffs.
But the Cubs, Angels and White Sox fell in the first round and the Dodgers were eliminated by the Phillies in the National League Championship Series. (Wow. Somehow, I didn't think there would be a silver lining to the White Sox losing, but, knowing these d-bags are suffering makes it worthwhile!) The low-profile Rays, the worst team in baseball last year, then finished off the defending champion Red Sox on Sunday night. (Booooooooooooooooooooring!)
Cohen said that working against the World Series, which begins Wednesday in St. Petersburg, Fla., is the fact that there are two East Coast teams (that aren't New York or Boston). A series that lasts the minimum of four games would also hurt the ratings. (no shit? I can see how you rose through the ranks. I tip my cap, good sir...)
"I don't think it's going to be a barn burner," Cohen said. (And he's highly-qualified to predict games because he's a media buying negotiator for......zzzzzzzzzzzzzz)
In the past 10 years, the highest-rated Fall Classic was the seven-game Florida Marlins-Cleveland Indians matchup (two high-profile juggernauts), which averaged a 16.7 rating/29 share, or about 24.8 million viewers.
There have only been three others since then to go over 15 (shame!), most recently the 2004 Series in which Boston ended an 86-year drought to beat the St. Louis Cardinals in four straight.
But Sports president Ed Goren (there's a 'President of Sports'? Wow. All hail, Ed Goren!) remains optimistic. "These two markets will do well. It's not just about the matchups," he said. "As important as anything else is the length of the series and the volume. (just like porn) If we get six or seven games, we'll outrate last year's Red Sox World Series." (....and the other team they played...)
Goren looks to the 1997 Series, with a relatively unknown Marlins up against the Indians. Game 7 averaged a 24.5 rating (38 million viewers) as Florida won.
"Imagine a 16.7 rating for seven nights? (You may saaaay I'm a dreamer....) That's an unheard of number (no. I've heard of 16.7. It's a real number)... but I think there are parallels here," Goren said.
"The last two (Red Sox-Rays) games certainly helped build toward the World Series, and hopefully we'll keep it going," he added. (Indeed, it's not up to the teams. It's up to sports television, Mr. President. Well put.)
Sunday night's Game 7 averaged 13.3 million viewers, making it the highest-rated baseball game in cable history (baseball's dead) and the top-rated telecast on any kind on TBS, Nielsen Media Research said. A Chicago Cubs-St. Louis Cardinals game on ESPN in 1998 which the Cards' Mark McGwire tied the single-season home run record was cable's previous best. (but, those numbers were chemically enhanced)