Yankees help give baseball a ratings boost, even against NFL
By Michael Hiestand, USA TODAY,
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Fox got Tiger Woods in the World Series. Or at least the closest MLB can come to such a TV ratings-mover — the New York Yankees.
Consider that the Yankees' ALCS series-clinching win over the Los Angeles Angels Sunday night outdrew an NFL game.
That Yankees' victory drew a 11.4 overnight — translating to 11.4% of TV households in the 56 urban TV markets measured for overnights — as baseball eked out a ratings win over NBC's prime-time Arizona Cardinals-New York Giants game. (In New York, the Yankees drew 26.4% of households to the Giants' 9.3%.) And it's not like NBC had a dud: The 10.4 overnight for Arizona's 24-17 win was up 44% from NBC's comparable coverage of a Seattle-Tampa Bay NFL game last year that ran opposite MLB action.
But with the Yankees — and a solid supporting actor in defending champion Philadelphia — be wary about claims that baseball could somehow be closing in on the NFL's on-air popularity.
It's not. Consider that Fox's six-game ALCS averaged 6.5% of U.S. TV households. That's pretty good: Up 35% from Fox's comparable coverage of its five-game NLCS last season.
But that 6.5% game average isn't up in the NFL TV stratosphere. Consider the national ratings the NFL's TV carriers are averaging so far: NBC at 11.9%, followed by Fox (10.8%), CBS (10.2%) and ESPN, whose 9.4% average rating doesn't even include viewers getting ESPN's simultaneous coverage on local TV stations of teams playing on Monday nights.
And MLB's playoffs, predictably, seem a bit less mediagenic when the Yankees aren't in the picture. TBS averaged 3.8% of U.S. TV households for its five-game Philadelphia-L.A. Dodgers NLCS, down 17% from its coverage last year of the seven-game Tampa Bay-Boston ALCS.
Still, Fox Sports president Ed Goren Monday said the network is about to enjoy "the biggest year-to-year improvement (in TV ratings) in Series history."
Which might sound like a dramatic prediction, but really isn't. Last year, Fox's World Series lasted only five games and included small-market Tampa Bay. The result: Fox averaged an all-time Series low of 8.4% of U.S. TV households. (One more comparison if you aren't already dizzy: Fox's record-low Series average last year still managed to tie the 8.4% average rating for the L.A. Lakers win in last spring's NBA Finals.)
Meaning? TV baseball is looking pretty strong these days. Just like TV golf is when Tiger Woods is in contention on Sundays.Spice rack
Fox's Joe Buck
will work his 12th TV World Series, tying Vin Scully
and Curt Gowdy
for the most-ever Series appearances for a play-by-play announcer. (Buck's partner, TimMcCarver
, is the all-time leader with 20.) Buck, on the idea a near-generation of fans know only his Series calls: "To that generation I say, 'sorry.' "
… Colorful White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen
, being added to Fox's World Series pregame and postgame shows, sounds ready: "We're just going to talk about baseball and that's the only thing I know in my life so that makes it easier." And his sometimes off-color language, he says, won't be a problem: "I only curse when the Chicago media is around me."On tap
TNT's NBA coverage starts Tuesday with Boston at Cleveland and the debut of Kevin McHale
as a TNT/NBA TV analyst. TNT's Charles Barkley
, on David Letterman's
CBS Late Show
Monday, after being asked if he's pumped to get back to work: "Not really. If I could just stay on vacation all the time I would." There are different ways to approach saving for retirement.
… To hype its TheLegend of Jimmy The GreekSnyder
documentary debuting Nov. 10, ESPN that day will reunite Irv Cross
, Phyllis George
— Snyder's colleagues from CBS' NFL coverage in the 1980s — on various ESPN shows throughout that day. Talk about history coming to life — and in high-def.P.S.
Brooke Hundley, the 22 year-old ESPN production assistant whose affair with ESPN baseball analyst Steve Phillips led to his announced firing Sunday, has lost her job. ESPN's Mike Soltys said Monday only that Hundley had been fired.http://www.usatoday.com/sports/colum...s_N.htm?csp=34