In Depth

Soggy World Series Slips to Lowest Ratings Ever

Bad weather led to bad ratings as the 2008 World Series on Fox drew the smallest audience in its history.

The five-game series concluded with the Philadelphia Phillies beating the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 in the conclusion of Game 5, which had been suspended because of rain on Monday—the first time that’s happened during a World Series.

The final three and a half innings of Game 5, played on Wednesday, drew an 11.9 rating and 18 share, representing 19.8 million viewers, the biggest audience of the 2008 World Series.

But as a whole, the five-game series averaged an 8.4/14 and 13.6 million viewers, down 17% from the previous lowest-rated series, the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers in 2006. Both matchups featured small-market teams.

In addition to Monday’s suspended game, Saturday’s game was delayed by rain. Play did not start until 10:06 p.m. EDT, and the gamended at 1:47 a.m.

“This World Series got off to a solid start last week and was poised to build momentum as we expected it to,” said Fox Sports President Ed Goren. “The rain delay on Saturday and suspended game on Monday, combined with only going five games, obviously worked against the Series reaching its maximum viewership potential, but even with that, Fox was No. 1 most nights, posted some of its best nights in many weeks and was No. 1 last week in prime time.”

Fox won prime time on Wednesday night in households, total viewers and in most of the key male and adult demographics. The World Series also made Fox No. 1 among the broadcasters in adult 18-49 viewers.

Even at an 8.4/14, the World Series games averaged 33% higher ratings than all the prime-time programming season-to-date on ABC, CBS and NBC, Fox said.