I’d like to pretend that Major League Baseball doesn’t like it when the San Francisco Giants play in the World Series, but I’m pretty sure that Major League Baseball doesn’t care as much about television ratings for the World Series as a great many others might. Less than a month after new television deals with ESPN, FOX and TBS were announced, the 2012 World Series pulled in the worst television ratings since such things were measured.

The previous low was the 2010 World Series, when the Giants beat the Texas Rangers which was tied with the 2008 World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays.

There are a bunch of reasons for the new low:

  • San Francisco and Detroit are only the 37th and 48th, respectively, most populated cities in North America;
  • The World Series went head-to-head with football on three of its four nights;
  • A series sweep took away from the drama needed to attract casual viewers; and
  • There’s an increased savviness among younger viewers looking for ways around viewing broadcasts on television.

All of this added up to attract a 7.6 rating, which represents the percentage of all homes with televisions tuned into a program, and and a 12.0 share, which represents the percentage watching among all homes with televisions in use at the time.

FOX, the network that aired the World Series this year was hardly concerned. According to Michael Mulvihill, FOX Sports Media Group’s senior vice president of programming and research:

The World Series has been a top-10 prime-time hit for over 40 years and even with a four-game sweep this series was no exception. This World Series gave us exactly what we expected: a top-10 show among all viewers and a top five show among hard-to-reach younger men. It’s important for us to remain focused on the Series relative to today’s competitive environment rather than bygone years.

As a wise man once said, so there’s that.

Comments (20)

  1. Dustin, when it comes to TV ratings you have to take into account metro areas, not just the actual city. Bay Area is the 6th biggest TV market in America, and Detroit is the 11th. Those are pretty disappointing numbers any way you try to slice them.


    • Truth, and can you give the source that has SF and Det as 37th and 48th most populated NA cities? I find that shocking.

        • Silly Americans. There is more in North America than the USA.

        • “City Proper” populations are a completely inappropriate stat for this article. They are based on a historical border, not the reality of these urban areas. They are basically never used for statistical purposes anymore.

          Case in point: Miami and Atlanta are not even on this top-60 list. They come in at 83rd and 98th, respectively. And Ottawa and Mississauga easily rank above our 2012 World Series teams.

          This must mean Ottawa and Mississauga are both far larger markets than these cities, right? Even Winnipeg places comfortably above Miami, Atlanta and Boston. Get them a ballclub, fast!

          A lot of cities still exist like Toronto pre-amalgamation, which also would have been way, way lower on the city proper list.

          The completely different, proper list is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_North_American_metropolitan_areas_by_population

          San Francisco is now 14th, and Detroit is 15th. Middle-of-the-pack in that regard. And Miami jumps from 98th to 10th.

  2. There was also the small distraction of a presidential debate during one of the games. I’m sure that held down ratings for at least the first twenty minutes of the debate until people got bored/confused.

  3. And the fact that the idiots scheduled it so that there was no Friday night game. Knob Gobblers.

  4. If every sports league had their way they would have a New York vs LA final every year for television purposes.

  5. Going up against football is a recipe for disaster.

  6. Well to be honest, listening to Tim McCarver is not worth watching baseball. So I can understand why FOX had such low ratings.

  7. Not sure where you got your city numbers from, but they’re wrong and misleading. SF draws from most of Northern California, Nevada and southern Oregon. Last I checked, that was a few people. Detroit is much higher than you’ve listed also. Explain it away how you must, but at least get the facts straight.

  8. McCarver and Buck are still the best, particularly Buck. I love listening to the game when those guys are on. Erin Andrews, on the other hand… eesh

    • Are you a retard? You complement those 2 dummies, and you insult Erin Andrews who is 1 of the best female reporters there is, knowledgeable, funny, smart, and easy on the eyes. I give her so much respect for taking in stride what that sicko pervert did a while back, she didn’t miss a beat in coming back to fox and doing a perfect job. Only a sexist wouldn’t see her value, or not like what a good job she does, you want her to not be able to vote either? Just shut up and do dishes maybe? Your name S is for stupid I see, get a helmet!

  9. Ouch Toronto is behind only NYC, Chicago, and LA in total population base. All of those cities have two teams fighting for the fanbase as well. We must really not give a shit about baseball to have such small attendance.

  10. Why do you think the NBA fixes their playoffs and puts all the top players on 4-5 teams? They assure themselves good ratings

  11. This is to the guy who said Mcarver and Buck would make him smoke crack. I listened to Sutcliffe and Thorne on Sportsnet and they did a great job. I also couldnt understand why they would play a sunday game in Detroit at 8:00pm. that game should of been played in the afternoon where the temperature would of been somewhat tollerable instead of playing in frigid temps at night.

    • @Paul:

      “I also couldnt understand why they would play a sunday game in Detroit at 8:00pm. that game should of been played in the afternoon”

      Because the evening is prime time. It’s called that because people watch TV rather than do yard work, go to church, or any list of other things that you can do on a Sunday afternoon. You do realize that more people watch Sunday night baseball than watch national broadcasts in the afternoon, right?

    • I didn’t find Sutcliffe and Thorne to be all that great, but they’re still much better than Buck and McCarver, who are among two of the worst, and most annoying sports commentators. Although he doesn’t do baseball, I think Gus Johnson is the worst, always over-exaggerating every little thing that’s going on, I can’t watch a game if he’s doing the colour commentary.

      As for the second point, about playing the game during the day, it’s important to remember that this is still football season. In terms of TV competition, the World Series could not have been at a worse time. Game 2 faced off against Thursday night NFL and NCAA action. Saturday’s Game 3 it was up against one primetime NCAA football, which featured one of the biggest games so far this season, #5 Notre Dame at #8 Oklahoma., and we already mentioned Sunday night football. Along with the other issues surrounding the WS (match up, it being an unexciting sweep, etc), it was almost a “perfect storm” of events that lead to dismal ratings.

  12. Couldn’t agree with Will and Happster more. Can’t take McCarver and Buck, so I listened to Shulman and Herscheiser on the radio. The two best ever!

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