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1990s

1996

In Fox's first season of Major League Baseball coverage in 1996, they averaged a 2.7 rating for its Saturday Game of the Week. That was down 23% from CBS' 3.4 in 1993 despite the network's infamy for its rather haphazard Game of the Week schedule.

When Fox covered its first ever World Series in 1996, Fox announced a 17.4 Nielsen rating. In response to that, Fox Sports head David Hill said

Three times our nightly norm. That's why we got into baseball [for $120 million a year].
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1998

When Fox covered Mark McGwire's 62nd home run game in prime time in September 1998, Fox got a 14.5 rating despite the fact the game was blacked out in Chicago.

2000s

2000

During the 2000 World Series that was televised by Fox, 61% of the televisions in New York watched Game 5. The next 30 largest television markets, during that same exact viewing period, registered double digit percentage losses compared to the market in New York City. The 12.4 rating for the 2000 World Series wound up being the worst in World Series history[1]. On the subject of the poor ratings, Fox Sports president Ed Goren commented,

There's no question the viewership never built. Normally, through a Series, it builds from Game 1 to a Game 2, from a Game 2 to a Game 3. We would have liked to have seen higher numbers, but they are respectable in today's world.

2003

In 2003, the national ratings for Fox's Saturday baseball coverage jumped by 8% when compared to 2002. The games earned an average national rating of 2.7 with an 8 share over 18 weeks of coverage. That was up from a 2.5 rating and 8 share in 2002. It was the highest since Fox posted a 2.9 rating in 1999. Observers credited the ratings boost to Fox's decision to shift two of its broadcasts from September to May so it would not have to go against college football, although it meant reduced coverage during the final stretch of the season.

More significantly, Fox's coverage of Game 7 of the American League Championship Series between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox averaged nearly 18.6 million households. An average of 27.5 million viewers watched Game 7, the largest average viewership for any LCS game since 1991. The game also ranked as the fourth highest-rated MLB telecast ever on Fox at the time, behind only three World Series telecasts. The game achieved a 34.4/49 in New York and a 52.9/73 in Boston, stunning figures given the size of those markets. In addition, coverage of Game 4 of the 2003 ALCS gave Major League Baseball and Fox their first-ever LCS ratings win (11.6) vs. Monday Night Football (8.4), out-rating ABC's prime time football telecast by 38%. Meanwhile, Game 7 of the National League Championship Series between the Florida Marlins and Chicago Cubs (16.9) also helped Fox produce the two highest-rated nights (October 15 and 16) of prime time programming on any network during the 2003-2004 network television season at that particular period.

In a year-to-year comparison, the overall average household rating for the 2003 League Championship Series on Fox was 65% higher than the average rating for the 2002 LCS, representing the greatest year-to-year percent increase in LCS history, and the biggest year-to-year jump for any sports event in recent history. The 2003 LCS also increased by 82% in adults 18-49 versus 2002. Overall, the 2003 League Championship Series was the most-watched LCS since 1995, and the most-viewed ever on Fox. The 11.8 prime time household rating average for League Championship Series games was also 53% higher than the household average for NBC, ABC, and CBS (7.7).

2004

On Friday, April 16, 2004, Fox tried to capitalize off of the momentum of the intense 2003 ALCS between heated rivals the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. The first regular-season meeting between the two teams aired nationally from Fenway Park in prime-time.

Despite a four game World Series in 2004, Fox drew the highest World Series ratings in a decade, and its League Championship Series ratings rose sharply over the last two years, largely from another set of big-market New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox grudge matches and the regionally popular St. Louis Cardinals.

2005

In 2005, the opening game of the Chicago White Sox-Houston Astros World Series didn't even crack Nielsen Media Research's top 10 from the previous week. To add insult to injury, Game 2 was eclipsed by ABC's Sunday lineup. The first two games were seen by 15 million and 17.2 million respectively, compared to 23.2 million and 25.5 million for the opening games of the Boston-St. Louis series in 2004, Nielsen said. Fox also prospered in 2004 with the Red Sox-Yankees American League Championship Series, making the difference between the two years even more stunning. This time, both teams were eliminated in the first round. Fox's prime time average viewership for the same week in 2004 was 22 million — double its closest rival — while in 2005, Fox barely made second place with 10.6 million viewers.

The 2005 World Series averaged an 11.1 household rating/19 share and 17.2 million viewers. Fox had expected to take a hit compared with the 2004 World Series. The hit proved quite big as Series ratings were down 30% from 2004's 15.8/26 and 25.4 million viewer average, a four-game Series sweep by the Red Sox. In adults 18-49, 2005's rating was a 5.6 compared with 2004's 8.8. The 2005 World Series also had the lowest viewership ever for a World Series. It was lower than 2002's 19.3 million (Anaheim Angels-San Francisco Giants) and 2000's 18.1 million (New York Yankees-New York Mets).

An hour before the start of Game 4 of the 2005 World Series, Ed Goren said

I think just to look at ratings compared to past years, there's a lot more to the story.

Goren added by saying

There's no question that we're facing in television the most competitive prime time season in recent memory. You have to look at how the World Series has held up versus a very strong prime time lineup across the board on any given night.

In Houston, the 2005 World Series scored a 41.2/58 while in Chicago, it nabbed a 38.6/58. For the title-clinching Game 4, Chicago received a 42.5/62. Fox Sports said viewership levels in Houston and Chicago were higher than 2004's levels in Boston and St. Louis: Chicago's Fox affiliate averaged 1.32 million homes compared with the 1.22 million in Boston during the 2004 Series; 800,000 Houston homes tuned in compared with 540,000 in St. Louis in the previous year.

2006

The 2006 Major League Baseball All-Star Game helped give Fox a ratings victory for the evening of July 11, as it has usually done in the past. Fox earned a 3.9 rating/12 share in the key 18-49 demo, according to Nielsen overnight numbers. This includes live viewing plus same-day viewing via digital video recorder. From the pre-game beginning at 8 p.m. ET, the telecast increased in the ratings each half-hour, going from a 3.4/12 to a 4.5/12. The 2006 All-Star Game was, however, down five percent in the demo from the 2005 All-Star Game (4.3).

On a October 6, broadcast of Game 2 of the National League Division Series between the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers, Fox scored a 1.6 in the 8 p.m. hour with baseball. Overall, Fox finished the night with a 1.7 rating[2]. This made them dead last in the night (they even finished behind The CW with a 1.8).

The five Division Series games televised by Fox averaged a 4.9 rating, down from 2005's 6.6[3]. Two of the four first-round series ended in three-game sweeps, and the other two were over in four games. Then, the Detroit Tigers easily swept the Oakland Athletics in the American League Championship Series. Game 3 of the ALCS drew an overnight 5.7, down from a 6.5 for Game 4 of the 2005 American League Championship Series between the Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Game 4 got only a 6.4 national overnight rating with a 10 share. The comparable game in 2005 based on date — Game 5 of the ALCS — got an overnight 8.8/14.

Game 1 of the National League Championship Series between the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals earned a 2.4 rating among the 18-49 age demographic[4]. Overall, the telecast received a 5.6 rating for the Thursday night game, October 12. Game 2 of the NLCS on Friday night drew a 6.1 national rating, down slightly from a 6.2 for Game 2 of the 2005 NLCS. In contrast, NBC beat Fox with the game shows 1 vs. 100 (which drew a 7.8/13) and Deal or No Deal (which got a 7.3/13). Game 4 on Sunday night came in number four, well behind the front-runner, Desperate Housewives (which got a 13.6/19) on ABC.

Game 1[5] of the World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers on Saturday, October 21, got an 8.6 household rating/15 share in Nielsen's metered market overnights. This was a 25% drop from the 11.4/19 for the opener of the Chicago White Sox-Houston Astros matchup in 2005.

Game 2 of the World Series earned a 10.5/16 for Fox at 8 p.m.[6] After losing to Desperate Housewives in the 9:00 p.m. hour, Fox returned to the lead at 10 p.m. with a 10.1/16. Meanwhile, NFL overruns and the World Series pre-game show scored a 9.6/16 for Fox at 7 p.m.

Game 3[7] helped Fox tie with ABC for the lead among adults 18-49, each drawing a 4.2 rating in the key ad demographic. Game 3 of the World Series (including a pre-game show) started out with a 7.7/12 for Fox. Fox took over at 10 p.m. as its baseball coverage scored a 9.7/16.

Through the first three games of the 2006 World Series, Fox earned a 9.9 rating/17 share, which is the lowest ever[8].

Game 4 on Thursday earned Fox a 9.4 rating/15 share in prime time to win the night.[9]

St. Louis' 4-2 victory in Friday night's finale got a 10.3/18 in figures compiled by Nielsen Media Research[10], just above the record low for a Game 5, a 10.0/17 for the San Francisco Giants' 16-4 rout of the Anaheim Angels in 2002. In St. Louis, World Series Game 5 got a 51.7/71 and the Series averaged a 48.9/65. Detroit got a 34.3/50 for Game 5 and averaged 36.9/53 for the Series. The Cardinals' five-game victory over the Detroit Tigers averaged a record-low 10.1 television rating and 17 share. Games 1 (8.0), 3 (10.2) and 4 (10.4) also were record lows for their games, and Game 2 (11.6) was above the low of 11.1, set the year before.

We are in the business of winning nights and the World Series consistently helps Fox achieve this goal,

Fox Sports president Ed Goren said.

There is also no questioning the tremendous yearly promotional power that one of the worlds greatest sporting events and its 15.8 million viewers per night provides the network.

2007

For the 2007 regular season, Fox averaged 2.3 rating for 26 regular season telecasts. That's the lowest average for Major League Baseball on broadcast television since at least 1987[11] (when the over-the-air, nationally televised games were on ABC and NBC), and likely the lowest average ever. The 2.3 average marked a 4% decline from the 2.4 average for 18 regular season telecasts in 2006, and a 12% decline from the 2.6 average for 18 regular season games in 2005.

Date Time Games Rating Share Households
April 7, 2007 3:30pm ET New York Mets vs. Atlanta Braves
Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago White Sox
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants
2.4 5 N/A
April 14, 2007 3:30pm ET Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. Boston Red Sox
Houston Astros vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Texas Rangers vs. Seattle Mariners
2.4 6 N/A
April 21, 2007 3:30pm ET New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs
3.2 9 4,700,000
April 28, 2007 3:30pm ET Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees
Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals
2.9 7 N/A
May 5, 2007 3:30pm ET Seattle Mariners vs. New York Yankees
Chicago White Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Philadelphia Phillies vs. San Francisco Giants
2.1 5 N/A
May 12, 2007 3:30pm ET Chicago Cubs vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. Texas Rangers
2.1 5 N/A
May 19, 2007 3:30pm ET New York Yankees vs. New York Mets
Chicago White Sox vs. Chicago Cubs
2.8 7 N/A
May 26, 2007 3:30pm ET Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves
Cleveland Indians vs. Detroit Tigers
2.4 7 N/A
June 2, 2007 3:30pm ET New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Houston Astros
3.2 8 N/A
June 9, 2007 3:30pm ET New York Mets vs. Detroit Tigers
Houston Astros vs. Chicago White Sox
Oakland Athletics vs. San Francisco Giants
1.9 5 N/A
June 16, 2007 3:30pm ET San Francisco Giants vs. Boston Red Sox
Atlanta Braves vs. Cleveland Indians
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
2.1 6 N/A
June 23, 2007 3:30pm ET New York Yankees vs. San Francisco Giants
Detroit Tigers vs. Atlanta Braves
Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers
2.8 7 N/A
June 30, 2007 3:30pm ET New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit Tigers
Milwaukee Brewers vs. Chicago Cubs
2.4 7 N/A
July 7, 2007 3:30pm ET Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. New York Yankees
Atlanta Braves vs. San Diego Padres
Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago White Sox
N/A

American League Championship Series

The rating for game 7 of the 2007 ALCS scored 11.9 and garnered 19 million fans, the largest since 2004. The first game of the ALCS scored a 4.8 household rating and 7.4 million viewers, with the prime time portion (8 p.m. to 10:47 p.m. ET), notching a 5.0 mark and 7.8 million watchers. That gave Fox its highest-rated, most-watched Friday night since the fifth game of 2006 World Series, between the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers, which pulled a 9.1 rating and 14.1 million viewers. The second game averaged a 5.7 national household rating and 8.8 million viewers. Those numbers represented gains of 16% and 17% advances over Fox’s lone Saturday 2006 prime time LCS telecast—the third NLCS game between the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets, which produced a 4.9 mark and 7.5 million viewers. Boston Red Sox's 13-6 win was the network’s best Saturday LCS prime time contest since 2004, according to Fox officials. The rating, though, was off 16% from 6.8 average for the second game of the 2006 ALCS, which aired on a Wednesday night, when TV usage is 11% higher than Saturdays, according to the network.[12]

All-Star Game ratings

Year Rating Share Households
1997 11.8 21 11,446,000
1999 12.0 22 11,928,000
2001 11.0 19 11,242,000
2002 9.5 17 10,023,000
2003 9.5 17 10,137,000
2004 8.8 15 9,897,000
2005 8.1 14 8,878,000
2006 10.5 17 N/A
2007 10.0 17 N/A

World Series ratings

Year Rating Share
1996 17.4 29
1998 14.1 24
2000 12.4 21
2001 15.7 25
2002 11.9 20
2003 13.9 25
2004 15.8 25
2005 11.1 19
2006 10.1 17
2007 10.6 18
2008 8.4 14
2009 11.7 19

See also

References

Sources


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