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Debate Hurts Fox’s Baseball Playoff Numbers

Oct 16, 2008  •  Post A Comment

With a short series, a weekday afternoon game and competition from a presidential debate, Fox’s coverage of Major League Baseball’s National League Championship Series averaged 7.4 million viewers, down 35% from last year, when Fox aired the American League Championship Series, according to Nielsen Media Research national figures.
Last year’s series went a full seven games, drumming up interest in the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians. Fox figures a fairer comparison would be to look at prime time through game five. In that case, Fox’s ratings are down just 22%.
Though their ratings were lower, the games performed better than some of the entertainment programming they replaced on Fox. Game 1 generated Fox’s best Sunday audience since the Super Bowl; Game 4 was Fox’s highest-rated Monday in 12 weeks; and game five is projected to match Fox’s best Wednesday in five weeks.
Game five, in which the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers to go to the World Series, ran up against the final presidential debate Wednesday night and drew a 5.1 rating and 8 share, representing 8 million viewers.
The World Series airs on Fox starting Wednesday.
(Editor: Liff; updated 10/17, 9:30 a.m., to add Nielsen attribution)

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