Boston Blowout Doesn’t Put a Damper on World Series Ratings

Fox scores as Sox takes Game 1

An unhittable Jon Lester and a bevvy of bearded batsmen may have turned Game 1 of the 2013 World Series into a blowout, but that didn’t seem to shake up Fox’s prime-time ratings.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, Boston’s 8-1 rout of St. Louis averaged 14.4 million viewers and an 8.6 household rating, marking an 18 percent increase in overall viewers and a 13 percent uptick in the rating.

Game 1 also drew a 4.2 rating among adults 18-49, up 17 percent from the year-ago 3.6. Season-to-date, Fox is averaging a 1.9 in the dollar demo.

While the initial comparisons to last year’s Fall Classic are encouraging, it’s worth noting that San Francisco’s sweep of Detroit was the least-watched, lowest-rated World Series in history. The four-game set averaged just 12.7 million viewers and a 7.6 household rating.

That said, the fan bases are large (and rabid) enough to ensure a good turnout—in fact, the Red Sox and Cardinals in 2004 gave Fox its most successful World Series to date. An average crowd of 25.4 million fans watched Boston put an end to 86 seasons of futility, as the Sox dispatched the Cards in four games.

(Although it goes without saying that Fox’s deliveries are largely a function of duration, history sometimes does a lot of the heavy lifting.)

Fox’ coverage of Game 2 begins tonight at 7:30 p.m. Comeback kid John Lackey takes the hill in Fenway Park against the Cards’ 22-year-old rookie right hander, Michael Wacha.

Game 2 ratings generally are stable, with deliveries rarely dipping more than 5 percent versus the opener. Game 3 is traditionally the lowest rated in any given Series; last year’s third outing drew just 10.5 million viewers and a 6.1 household rating, down 22 percent from the prior broadcast’s 7.8.

Media buyers said that 30-second in-game spots are going for as much as $495,000 a pop. Thus far, the usual suspects have been well represented; among the brands supporting the Series are official MLB sponsors Anheuser-Busch, Chevrolet, Microsoft and Pepsi.

Fox is also carving out a not-inconsiderable chunk of commercial time to promote its upcoming drama series, Almost Human.

The further the Sox and Cards can burrow into October, the more ad dollars Fox will generate. Last season’s brooms fest generated approximately $152.8 million in revenue, per Kantar Media; by contrast, the seven-game Cards-Rangers set in 2011 raked in $268.8 million. All things being equal, each game beyond the fifth frame can bring in as much as $40 million in bonus sponsor dough.  

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