World Series ratings hit record low for 2nd straight year

Updated: October 29, 2006, 6:29 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- A World Series to remember for the St. Louis Cardinals was one to forget when it came to television ratings.

The Cardinals' five-game victory over the Detroit Tigers averaged a record-low 10.1 television rating and 17 share, Fox said Sunday. This year's rating dropped 9 percent from the previous bottom, an 11.1 for a four-game sweep by the Chicago White Sox over the Houston Astros last year.

What made the low rating more remarkable was that this year's Series went five games and was not a sweep. St. Louis' 4-2 victory in Friday night's finale got a 10.3/18 in figures compiled by Nielsen Media Research, just above the record low for a Game 5, a 10.0/17 for the San Francisco Giants' 16-4 rout of the Anaheim Angels in 2002.

Games 1 (8.0), 3 (10.2) and 4 (10.4) also were record lows for their games, and Game 2 (11.6) was above the low of 11.1, set last year.

Still, in an era of declining network ratings because of the spread of cable television, Fox was pleased it won prime time in all five nights among viewers 18-49. In an effort to avoid low-rated Saturday night games, the World Series will start on a Tuesday next year, the first season of baseball's new TV contracts.

"We are in the business of winning nights and the World Series consistently helps Fox achieve this goal," Fox Sports president Ed Goren said. "There is also no questioning the tremendous yearly promotional power that one of the worlds greatest sporting events and its 15.8 million viewers per night provides the network."

The Pittsburgh Steelers' 21-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in February's Super Bowl got a 41.6/62 on ABC, while the Miami Heat's six-game win over the Dallas Mavericks in June's NBA finals averaged an 8.5 rating on ABC. NBC televised the final five games of the Carolina Hurricanes' 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in June's Stanley Cup finals, averaging a 2.3/4.

In St. Louis, World Series Game 5 got a 51.7/71 and the Series averaged a 48.9/65. Detroit got a 34.3/50 for Game 5 and averaged 36.9/53 for the Series.

The national rating is the percentage of U.S. television households tuned to a program, and each point represents 1,114,000 homes. The share is the percentage of households watching a broadcast among those homes with televisions in use at the time.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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