It's official: Lowest-rated World Series ever
The ratings are in, and the pundits were right.
The average TV rating for the World Series was, as many snarky sports columnists predicted, the lowest-rated World Series in history, attracting an average of 13.6-million viewers over five games played in six evenings.
The Tampa Bay Rays/Philadelphia Phillies matchup notched a 14 percent audience decline from the previous historic low: the Detroit Tigers/St. Louis Cardinals game in 2006, which drew an average 15.8-million viewers over five nights.
In the Tampa Bay area, the games scored well, attracting an average 754,000 viewers; more than 830,000 fans watched Wednesday's final innings, or about 45 percent of area viewers with TVs turned on. Nationwide, the games averaged a 8.4 rating and 14 share, meaning 8.4 percent of those with TVs watched the game, or 14 percent of those with their televisions turned on.
Of course, there are explanations for this (or, as the critics might say, excuses). Rain delayed Saturday's game to near 10 p.m.; the contest eventually lasted almost until 2 a.m. Weather also forced the historic suspension of Monday's game -- the first time a World Series game was played over two days' time -- earning low ratings as viewers realized the contest wouldn't resume that night and bailed. And recent history shows the World Series really builds in audience when it goes to six and seven games, so ending at five games also precluded that possibility.
Putting the best face on things, Fox touted the 19.8-million people who watched the final innings Wednesday, a 33 percent advantage over the other networks. As opposed to Monday, when ABC's Dancing With the Stars outrated the rain-challenged game, Wednesday's conclusion attracted 18 percent of those watching TV nationwide.
Locally, the World Series ratings scored lower than the last Super Bowl, which earned a 49.8 rating and 71 share. But the Tampa Bay area has only had a few years to develop the kind of fan following that teams such as the Red Sox and Phillies have enjoyed for decades, and the Super Bowl's one big game always outdraws baseball's extended series.
Perhaps this World Series is less a historic low than a promising beginning; the introduction of the Tampa Bay Rays to a national audience.
Or is that just another, um, explanation? *