Mewling over Rays World Series TV ratings
Wake up and good morning. What took the World Series whiners so long to start mewling over TV ratings and the Tampa Bay Rays? A Bloomberg News story already quotes Ed Goren, president of News Corp.'s Fox Sports, which will televise the series, as preparing for the worst: low viewer numbers. "I'm not on a cell phone hanging off the ledge of a building," Fox's Goren tells Bloomberg. "It's a little premature.''
The World Series pits teams from the 4th- and 12th-largest media markets in the United States against each other. Sure, every advertiser always wants a Yankees-Dodgers match-up for maximum exposure. Here's John Herman, associate media director at ad agency Crispin, Porter & Bogusky in (Florida Marlins home turf) Miami quoted: "The Tampa Bay Rays wouldn't be their first, second, third, fourth or even fifth choice to win the American League.''
And two area mayors are mentioned. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker states the blossoming of the Rays and the series are a welcome distraction from the slumping economy. And a Bravo! to Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, referring to CNBC's business news program made more popular by the volatile stock markets:"There's only so much Squawk Box you can handle. It's great to just root for the Rays.'
Here's a great Florida rivalry of its own. Just when you think the Boston Red Sox had enough of Florida after a 7-game American League Championship series loss to the Rays, here comes a Sox war between Fort Myers and Sarasota. It seems the Red Sox have played their spring training season since 1993 in Fort Myers and here comes Sarasota trying to lure the BoSox away (especially since the Cincinnati Reds were lured from Sarasota to Arizona). Well, Fort Myers has a publicity campaign, playing off the "Curse of the Bambino" (the Babe Ruth curse blamed for the Red Sox not winning a World Series for most of the 20th century) under way called the "Sarasota Curse." It seems teams that play in Sarasota do not have great winning records. And the Fort Myers campaign even has a special post card it wants residents to send off to the Boston Globe to show the local support for keeping the Red Sox spring training right where it is... and not overcoming one curse just to inherit another.
As for Sarasota, the city and county are at least $10-million short of a deal that would lure the Boston Red Sox here, says a report in today's Sarasota Herald-Tribune. The solution? There's always more fish in the sea. City commissioners voted Monday to start talking to the Baltimore Orioles about moving the team's spring training there.
I guess this one was not "essential" enough. The Chicago Tribune reports that Sears Holdings Corp. plans to close the Sears Essential at 9500 Martin Luther King Street N in St. Petersburg is one of nearly a dozen underperforming stores to be shut down Jan. 31. The decision comes as retailers pull back heading into what is forecast to be one of the toughest holiday seasons in decades. The Sears Essential in St. Petersburg used to be a Kmart. When Sears Holding bought Kmart, that arguably sleepy location became in 2005 one of dozens of stores not located in malls that were converted to Sears Essentials. Liquidation sales are scheduled to begin in early November. In total, Sears had 3,492 stores as of Aug. 2, down from 3,519 when Kmart and Sears combined.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist