World Series draws record-low ratings

Updated: October 30, 2008, 6:14 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- A small-market team and a short series are often guarantees of low television ratings for sports in this age of fractured audiences. The 2008 World Series added to that double whammy the disjointing impact of a long rain delay and a suspended game.

The Philadelphia Phillies' five-game victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Fox drew record-low ratings. The series averaged an 8.4 rating and 14 share, the network said Thursday. That's down 17 percent from the previous low, a 10.1 for the five-game St. Louis Cardinals-Detroit Tigers series in 2006.

"This World Series got off to a solid start last week and was poised to build momentum as we expected it to," Fox Sports president Ed Goren said. "The rain delay on Saturday and suspended game on Monday, combined with only going five games, obviously worked against the Series reaching its maximum viewership potential, but even with that, Fox was No. 1 most nights, posted some of its best nights in many weeks and was No. 1 last week in prime time."

Game 5 was the first suspended game in World Series history, starting Monday and concluding two days later. The final innings Wednesday earned an 11.9/18, and the entire game averaged a 9.6/14, the highest of the series.

Game 3, which didn't start until after 10 p.m. on the East Coast on Saturday because of rain, received a record-low 6.1 rating.

"We had a very good rating [Wednesday]," MLB commissioner Bud Selig said. "There's no question that if the Series had gone further, the ratings would have gone up."

The rating is the percentage watching a program among homes with televisions, and the share is the percentage tuned into the broadcast among those households with TVs on at the time.

When Brad Lidge struck out Eric Hinske for the final out to give the city its first major sports championship in 25 years, the Philadelphia area recorded a 54.5 rating and 73 share.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press