Apparently people are going to watch the World Series
by Bob Timmermann
According to this story in Variety, ratings for the ALCS, especially Game 7, were strong for Fox and the network is hoping for good numbers for the World Series.
The matchup has caught the attention of advertisers, who shell out big bucks to reach young adults for DVR-proof programming like live sports. Fox reported Monday that it has sold out the first five games of the World Series at a record rate of $400,000 a spot.
"I've never seen a sales environment that's so hot for post-season baseball," said Ed Goren, president of Fox Sports, in a conference call with reporters. "Advertisers are lined up so deep to buy time that my sales guys are asking me if we could come up with a Game 8."
Nielsen estimates that an average aud of 19 million viewers watched the Boston Red Sox cap their rally in the best-of-seven series with an 11-2 victory on Sunday. That made it the most-watched program of the night -- besting "Desperate Housewives" on ABC and "Sunday Night Football" on NBC -- and will help Fox win the week's primetime ratings race among young adults and total viewers.
For the entire American League Championship Series, Fox averaged 11.6 million viewers -- 49% over last year (7.8 million for Detroit-Oakland). This makes it the most-watched ALCS since the boffo Red Sox-New York Yankees matchup in 2004, which also went seven games.
From Fox's perspective, one of the big advantages this year is that the first game will take place on Wednesday instead of Saturday, as in previous years, Goren said. Viewing levels are higher on Wednesday than Saturday, and "we'll get more of a sports-page buildup to the Series because baseball is not competing directly with weekend college football and the NFL," he said.
Tonight, Fox will show an episode of "House" and I'm sure it will be loaded with promos for the World Series. Perhaps something along the lines of John Farrell yelling at Terry Francona, "You're risking a pitcher's arm!" over and over and over and over and over.