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Tampa Bay Rays-Phillies World Series notches lowest TV rating

The ratings are in, and the pundits were right.

Sort of.

The average TV rating for this World Series was — as many snarky sports columnists predicted — the lowest rated for a Series in history, attracting an average of 13.6-million viewers over five games played in six evenings.

The Rays-Phillies matchup notched a 14 percent audience decline from the previous historic low: the Detroit Tigers-St. Louis Cardinals World Series 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 751,000 viewers over the series. About 833,000 local fans watched Wednesday's final innings of Game 5, or 45 percent of area viewers with TVs turned on.

In Philadelphia, a staggering 69 percent of people watching TV on Wednesday were tuned into the game.

Nationwide, the games averaged an 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 3 to 10 p.m. That contest, which became the World Series' lowest-rated individual game in history, lasted until almost 2 a.m.

And weather forced the historic suspension of Monday's Game 5, earning low ratings as viewers realized the contest wouldn't resume that night and bailed.

Recent history shows the World Series really builds in audience when it goes to six and seven games, so ending at five games precluded that possibility.

"Obviously, the series didn't reach its maximum potential," Fox Sports spokesman Dan Bell said. "But Fox was still No. 1 last week in prime time because of the World Series. No matter the matchup, it remains one of the most powerful events on television."

Putting on the best face, Fox touted the 19.8-million people who watched the final innings Wednesday, a 33 percent advantage over the other networks.

Tampa Bay Rays-Phillies World Series notches lowest TV rating 10/30/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 5, 2008 11:02am]
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