World Series Fizzles on Fox

The San Francisco Giants last night dispatched the Texas Rangers, 3-1, and in so doing, the merry band of misfits claimed the first World Series championship for the franchise in 56 years. And yet despite the historical impact of the five-game series, Fox posted the second-lowest deliveries in the history of the Fall Classic.

According to Nielsen ratings data, the five games averaged 14.3 million viewers, marking one of the most disappointing turnouts in baseball history. Only the rain-soaked Rays-Phillies showdown of 2008 served up fewer viewers (13.6 million over the course of five games).

While San Francisco and Dallas can’t match the New York and Los Angeles DMAs on sheer volume, the two participating markets aren’t exactly minuscule. The Bay Area is the No. 4 DMA, while Dallas-Ft. Worth is eighth on the list.

Fox was snakebit from the beginning, as a six-run Giants assault in the fifth inning of Game 1 gave the home team an 8-2 lead. San Francisco similarly tore Game 2 wide open in the eighth inning, scoring seven runs in what would be a 9-0 whitewash.

Texas’ lone victory in the Series came in Game 3, as the Rangers won the first of a three-game home stand by a score of 4-2. Game 4 was a shutout, and last night’s pitcher’s duel between Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee was broken up in the top of the seventh, when the Giants scored 3 runs.

Game 5 averaged 15 million viewers, according to Nielsen fast-nationals.
The 2010 World Series stayed out of the ratings basement by a margin of 5 percent. When compared to lat year’s Yankees-Phillies showdown (19.4 million viewers over six games), the Rangers-Giants series was off 26 percent.

San Francisco topped all markets for this year’s World Series, averaging a 35.3/61 over five games and culminating with a 37.9/65 for Game 5. Dallas-Ft. Worth averaged a 30.9/48 for the Series.
The Fall Classic has not gone to a seventh game since 2002, when the Giants fell to the Angels 4-3. Those broadcasts delivered an average audience of 19.3 million total viewers, the fourth-highest in the past decade.

Per data going back to 1968, the most-watched World Series was the 1978 grudge match between the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees. The 75th World Series averaged 44.3 million viewers over six games.