Fox has sold all of its commercial inventory for Wednesday night's deciding game seven of the World Series, which has drawn remarkable ratings.
Market sources say 30-second spots in the game went for more than $500,000—significantly higher than in the first five games of the series.
"We were literally selling spots during the game last night," said Fox Networks executive VP Bruce Lefkowitz. The Chicago Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians to force a seventh game Tuesday night. "We were pretty much one this morning."
Since neither the Cubs or the Indians have won the World Series in a long time, casual viewers have been tuning in, boosting baseball ratings to levels not seen in more than a decade. On Sunday night, the World Series beat Sunday Night Football on NBC, highlighting the NFL's ratings woes this season.
Networks generally sell ads in playoffs based on a five game series. Ratings rise as series get longer, but networks have to scramble to sell the last few spots in games six and seven. In this series, with ratings much higher than expected, ad revenues from those last two games are pure profit. These games have also featured numerous pitching changes, which has allowed Fox to slip extra spots into its broadcasts.
Lefkowitz said advertiser demand for this World Series has been phenomenal. "This underscores the importance of live sport events in this fragmented marketplace," he said. "Event television can't be replaced in this day and age."
Mike Law, executive VP, managing director of video investments at the Dentsu Aegis Networks, said he was thrilled with the ratings.
"Big events bring big ratings, and that is good for everyone. This is a great story. The pull of live sports and great content to bring people to the TV set is on display," he said. "At the same time, social interactions are up, proving that consumers are engaging in multiple ways at the same time. Great story all around."
Coming just days before Election Day, at least two political spots will run during Wednesday's game.