Friday, October 28, 2005

 

World Series TV Ratings Lowest Ever

Fox gets the ratings it deserves

Television ratings for the White Sox/Astros World Series were the worst ever:
Chicago's four-game sweep of the Houston Astros averaged an 11.1 national rating with a 19 share on Fox. That's down about 7 percent from the previous low, an 11.9 with a 20 share for the 2002 World Series between the Anaheim Angels and the San Francisco Giants.
I'm glad the ratings for this series were terrible. As I've said previously, all year ESPN and FOX focused on the best-known teams from the largest markets who, in their view, were most likely to end up in the World Series. These were the easiest teams around which to devise a marketing strategy and the ones with the greatest revenue generation potential. The networks developed national'products' of these teams by making them familiar to Americans nationwide, all the while cultivating an audience who expects to see them in the post-season.

Alas, their bet didn't pay off. Though they hail from the third and fourth largest American cities, the White Sox and Astros both lack their own large national followings. To protect themselves from the inevitability that teams like this make the series, the networks could have spent the season -- indeed, the last few years -- marketing the game itself. It would be a better long-term investment. Instead, they chose a short-sighted, high risk product marketing strategy and got burned. Imagine the ratings if, say, Tampa Bay swept Milwaukee instead. FOX should consider itself lucky that the ratings were as good as they were.

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