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Turner Sports Faces Setbacks

Oct 15, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Small markets and short series are putting a crimp in Turner Sports’ first year of postseason baseball.
Ratings on Fox are down slightly after two games of the American League Championship Series, but with a night game replacing a day game, Fox is expecting a rally.
Turner recorded big ratings gains during the first round of the playoffs. However, the first three games of its second-round coverage, pitting the Colorado Rockies against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League Championship Series, are averaging 4.5 million viewers and a 2.9 household rating.
A year ago, Fox drew 8.4 million viewers and a 5.7 rating for an NLCS that featured the New York Mets, from the nation’s No. 1 market, playing the St. Louis Cardinals, a team that traditionally draws baseball fans from across the Midwest. Phoenix, Ariz., is the No. 12 market and Denver is No. 18.
But Turner’s bigger problem is that the Rockies are on the verge of sweeping the series, limiting the number of games Turner can televise and sell ads during.
In the first round of the Major League Baseball playoffs, Turner’s ratings were up from the previous season, when games were on Fox and ESPN. However, three teams were swept, including the No. 3 market Chicago Cubs. In the only matchup to go beyond the minimum three games, the No. 1 market New York Yankees lost in four games to the Cleveland Indiand. So far Turner has shown just 16 out of 27 potential playoff games.
This means that in the short term, the playoffs have not been a money maker for Turner this season.
Turner executives cautioned that rights contracts shouldn’t be evaluated after only one year, and said the games have raised the network’s ratings, provided manifold promotional opportunities and helping to launch TBS HD.
For the first two games of the ALCS, with the Boston Red Sox playing the Cleveland Indians, Fox is averaging a 5.3 household rating, down 5 percent, and drew 8.2 million viewers, down 2 percent from last year.
(Editor: Robbins)

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