World Series baseball set to strike out in ratings

Tue Oct 21, 2008 7:57am EDT
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By Paul J. Gough

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - With Sunday night's seventh game of the American League Championship Series drawing record ratings for TBS, Fox Sports is hoping that some of that magic rubs off on the baseball World Series.

Good luck.

The matchup between the Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays, however exciting in terms of baseball purism, isn't likely to set the TV ratings world afire. In fact, some fear it could be the lowest-rated World Series ever.

"You could hear the groans coming up because it isn't the Red Sox-Dodgers," said Aaron Cohen, chief media negotiator at New York-based ad buyer Horizon Media.

Fox's World Series hopes started off promising, with the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox -- all representing major TV markets -- in the playoffs.

But the Cubs, Angels and White Sox fell in the first round and the Dodgers were eliminated by the Phillies in the second. The low-profile Rays, the worst team in baseball last year, then finished off the defending champion Red Sox on Sunday night.

Cohen said that working against the World Series, which begins Wednesday in St. Petersburg, Fla., is the fact that there are two East Coast teams. A series that lasts the minimum of four games would also hurt the ratings.

"I don't think it's going to be a barn burner," Cohen said.   Continued...