World Series: Rangers/Cardinals Averaging 8.3 Through Five Games

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Major League Baseball is indeed fortunate that the World Series is headed to a sixth game, as the five-game average for the series was the worst ever.

Monday’s Rangers/Cardinals Game 5 drew an 8.8 final rating and 14.3 million viewers on FOX, flat in ratings and down 4% in viewership from last year (SF/TEX G5: 8.8, 14.950M), and down 17% and 16%, respectively, from 2009 (NYY/PHI G5: 10.6, 17.092M).

Last year’s Game 5 was the deciding game of the series.

The 8.8 rating is tied as the lowest ever for Game 5 of the World Series, and the ninth-lowest for any World Series game. The Texas Rangers have now played in ten of the sixteen lowest rated World Series games of all time.

Over the past four seasons (dating back to 2008), only five of 21 World Series games have drawn a double-digit rating (24%). The World Series’ percentage trails that of other sports, including the NBA Finals (29%), NCAA Men’s Final Four (33%), and Bowl Championship Series (45%).

To put that in perspective, 220 of the previous 224 World Series games hit double-digits (98%).

Though the numbers have been low by historical standards, the fact that this year’s World Series is on par with last year is impressive when one considers the disparity in market size. The St. Louis (#21) market has approximately one million fewer homes than the San Francisco Bay Area (#6) did last year.

As evidence of the effect of that disparity, consider the local ratings for Game 5. The Cardinals’ loss attracted 46.9% of television homes in St. Louis, equaling approximately 588,000 households (equivalent to a 0.5 U.S. rating). Last year’s Game 5 drew a 37.9 in the Bay Area, equaling 956,000 homes (equivalent to a 0.8 U.S. rating in last year’s Nielsen universe).

The 46.9 rating in St. Louis marks a 9% decline from the Cardinals’ series-clinching Game 5 in 2006 (51.7).

In the Dallas-Ft. Worth market, Game 5 drew a 40.0 rating — up 28% from last year’s Giants/Rangers Game 5 (31.3). By comparison, Game 5 of this year’s Mavericks/Heat NBA Finals drew a 31.9 rating in the market, and Game 5 of the 2006 Heat/Mavericks series earned a 36.0. Monday’s game drew a higher rating in Dallas than any Mavericks NBA Finals game.

Through Game 5, the 2011 World Series is averaging an 8.3 rating and 13.7 million viewers, down a tick in ratings and 4% in viewership from last year (8.4, 14.3M), and down 27% in both measures compared to 2009 (11.4, 18.7M).

This marks the lowest rated World Series ever through five games.

(This year’s numbers from Fox Sports Media Group press release via TV By the Numbers)

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  • Jimbo

    Wow, the baseball apologists keep forgetting one thing. Even though the market size for the NL team is much smaller, the MLB has one major advantage this year. No NBA games to compete against. These world series ratings are abysmal. In particular, I would love to see the historical decline in the 18-35,18-9 demographic the last 20 years. I’d venture that drop would be even more precipitous than the overall ratings.

    • jlasoon

      Really? The NBA is beyond irrelevant in October, especially in the context of TV. This horrible matchup in the WS managed to beat out SNF and MNF. Context buddy. An Oklahoma City Thunder/New Jersey Net final wouldn’t draw squat, and you know it. Especially if it had to compete against the NFL. Do you judge the NBA and it’s popularity on 07 Finals TV ratings? Didn’t think so. The NFL can spin this as much as they want just like you, but any baseball fan can play these what “if” scenarios as-well. A Yankees/Cubs final would outdraw anything the NFL regular season and NBA had to offer. 

      I love how people ramble about WS baseball ratings as though 09 didn’t happen, or 04, or 02, or 01. The rest have been series sweeps and 5 game clinchers. Is it no wonder the numbers are down? The numbers swell for a game 7. The WS has seen 2 in the last 10 years, 01, and 02. NONE IN THE LAST 8 YEARS.  

      For crying out loud 20 million people are watching the last inning of these close games. And baseball fans are considered apologists? I don’t even care for MLB that much but these statements about the death of MLB are beyond ridiculous.        

      • JakeFrankie

        NBA opener was really irrelevant when Miami and Boston drew a 4.6 (highest rated nba game in history on cable).
        I’m not trying to make this a MLB vs NBA thing, But when was the last time a MLB regular season game got a 4.6 rating?

        • Paulsen

          Nothing personal here, but I’m going to nip this discussion in the bud before it turns into one of those NHL/NBA flamewars this site used to have a few years ago.

          • JakeFrankie

            No problem at all, my last comment wasn’t meant to star t any “Flamewars” as you said. Just making a point, But it’s all good.

          • Anonymous

            It should be noted that local MLB ratings(162 game) and Local radio are still off the charts for so many games in many markets. 

            Lets add those up and I bet head to head they beat the NBA by millions.  Baseball may not be the national ratings draw for many reasons but it is at it’s peak locally. 

      • TW

        Right on, JLA. Too many people look only at the average viewership, which is completely misleading. As you correctly noted….20 million viewers in the final moments of at least two games.

        The negative media spin of these ratings is absurd.

    • JakeFrankie

      This year too there’s been plenty of open time on ESPN with no NBA coming up. World Series without a doubt is getting much more coverage than last year on ESPN.The Median age for the MLB playoffs is much older than the NBA playoffs. Last year people said it was going against the NFL and opening of NBA that hurt the WS ratings. Now after 5 games it’s the lowest in history, I know St.Louis isn’t the biggest market. 

      The younger generation doesn’t respect or like the game like a 50 year old might. The game without a doubt has fallen out of touch with the youth of this country. I don’t care what any huge baseball fan says.

    • Anonymous

      NBA has an advantage every year: not having to compete against the NFL.

      I think 6.6, 9.2 and 8.8 are GREAT number, considering those 3 Games aired opposite College Football, SNF and MNF. Each Game (Games 3, 4 & 5) could have drawn at least a further 1.0 HH rating without Football Games’ competition (maybe much more on Sunday).

      Don’t forget, the competition is between a team, the Rangers, which was nationally irrelevant until two years ago and another from the 21st TV market of the Country, St. Louis, and nevertheless WS managed to win against Football. Give me a Yankees-Cubs contest and you’ll have around-15.0 numbers all Series long and maybe more than a 20.0 for a Game 7.

      As for the median age, it’s no surprise: Baseball has an older fan base than Football and Basketball. That said, it doesn’t represent a menace for the sport’s future: simply the pace of the Game (it mustn’t be changed, that’s the very nature of Baseball!) fits better to older-than-30 people.

      It’s true, NBA has better national TV ratings for its Regular season package, but MLB has monstrous local TV ratings for a 162-Game Regular season: you have a lot of markets where Baseball games draw more than a 6.0 EVERY DAY for SIX MONTHS!

      Not only. Baseball has a lot of radio followers, too! And the MLB.tv package has a big number of subscribers.

      Keeping saying that Baseball is dying is simply ridicolous! And the great show this WS is providing is only good for MLB.

      If we’ll have a Game 7 (every Baseball fan miss it so much) you’ll see the numbers, too!

  • Hehe

    when has the world series ever had to compete against nba games? what are you talking about?

    • Paulsen

      The World Series aired opposite regular season NBA action in 2008, 2009 and 2010. I suppose I can see how local NBA games might cut into World Series ratings in certain markets, but I don’t know how much of an effect that had on the numbers.

  • SportsManiac

    Are there any numbers about the hispanic/non-hispanic white/black audience percentages. I always read (http://beisbol.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/targeting-the-hispanic-baseball-fan.pdf) hispanics are (generally) interested in the game, which could be great for the MLB in the future. But is this really true?

  • Chad

    Since it right now is the lowest rated World Series, how long does Fox current contract with baseball end.

    I think they have 1 more year with Nascar and I thought they would have to make a choice between Nascar and MLB, but with both sports declining ratings, do they give up both.

    Fox just got the World Cup, along with already having the NFL, and I think somebody put they may want a college football package.

    See if your MLB, if Fox says we won’t renew, do you give them a lesser rate to stay on broadcast tv, because when they had their playoff games on TBS with the Yankees, more people watched Buccanners-Colts this year and last year Titans-Jaguars beat Rangers-Yankees.

  • TW

    If it goes to a game seven, the rating will be the 46th lowest of all time!

  • Anonymous

    Game 6 postponed due to rain.
    Very very bad news…while this won’t affect Game 6 TV ratings, an eventual Game 7 on Friday night will draw far lower ratings than what it could have drawn on a regular Thursday night.