Fox Sports’ airing of Wednesday night’s World Series Game One did a 9.2 ratings/15 share in households, continuing to prove the drawing power of major sporting events, but a 12% drop from last year’s Series opener.
The ratings erosion was expected for multiple reasons, including a relatively unappealing (except to staunch baseball fans) Philadelphia Phillies-Tampa Bay Rays matchup.
Last year’s World Series was between the Boston Red Sox – which Fox in a press release called “nationally familiar” -- and the Colorado Rockies. The numbers were, however, 15% higher than Game One between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Detroit Tigers in 2006.
This year’s event also must compete for mainstream attention with the election and all the hype surrounding the country’s flailing economy.
Had the two teams that lost in the last round, the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers, made it to the World Series, Fox’s bottom line would have been a lot better off, potentially to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.
So Fox execs can’t say it out loud, but they will be hoping for Tampa Bay to win tonight’s game to even the series at 1-1. A long series will help Fox significantly in the wallet.
“I stand by my pre-World Series assessment that if we get a six or seven game series, with games as compelling as last night’s, we could have the most-watched World Series in several years,” said Fox Sports chief Ed Goren.
But the World Series still led Fox to a big Wednesday night win in the adult 18-49 demo.
The game did a 4.8 in the demo, giving the network its biggest Wednesday since this past May’s American Idol finale.
CBS was second on the night with a 3.4/9, thanks to dramas Criminal Minds (4/10) and CSI: NY (3.9/10).
ABC was third with a 2.3/6 in the demo, topped by Grey's Anatomy spin-off Private Practice with a 3.0/7, though that was only good enough for third place at 9 against the baseball game and Criminal Minds. Quirky dramedy Pushing Daisies was true to its name, not registering much of a pulse at a 1.9/6 at 8 for last place, including behind The CW.
The caveat for all those shows was the competition from the World Series.
NBC managed a 1.9/5 in the demo, with only Knight Rider cracking a 2 rating (2.1/6).
The CW averaged a 1.6/4, led by America's Top Model, which recorded its best numbers of the season with a 2.0/6, tying NBC for third in the demo. with John Eggerton