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.