World Series draws 14.6-million viewers, may avoid series historic low
As expected, Fox's telecast of Wednesday's first World Series game between the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies topped all other shows that night, drawing 14.6-million viewers nationwide -- including nearly half those watching TV in the Tampa Bay area.
What may not be expected: the ratings are on track to avoid historic lows for the World Series games, thwarting critics who predicted a Tampa Bay/Philadelphia matchup would sink ratings.
Nationally, the first game scored a 9.2 rating and 15 share, meaning 9.2 percent of people who own TVs watched the game, or 15 percent of those watching television, according to figure provided by Fox Sports. In the Tampa Bay area, the game scored a 31.9 rating and 49 share, compared to Philadelphia's 35.7 rating and 53 share. In all, an estimated 625,000 people watched the telecast locally, according to Fox.
The opening night figures were a 12 percent decline from last year, when the always popular Boston Red Sox faced the Colorado Rockies. But they were a 15 percent improvement from the first 2006 game, when the St Louis Cardinals faced the Detroit Tigers.
Of course, the Cards/Tigers matchup was the lowest-rated World Series in TV history, drawing an average 11-million viewers over five telecasts. So the bar is set a bit low.
"We're off to a very solid start...this is a good number for a first night," said Fox Sports spokesman Dan Bell, noting that a series lasting six or seven game might boost viewership totals significantly. "No show gets the same ratings now that we saw in 1995. What advertisers pay for, is a series that dominates all other TV, and we're doing that."