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The year's Series a perfect storm for high ratings, high drama

Oct 30, 2009, 9:55 AM EDT

We’ll see the Game 2 ratings later today, but the ratings for Game 1 are in, and they’re very, very high:

Game 1 was the second-highest-rated MLB postseason game since 1999. It was seen by 19.5 million viewers, which marked a 33 percent increase over last year’s Game 1. That increase also marked the second-biggest year-to-year increase in World Series Game 1 viewership since data was first collected in 1968, trailing just 1976-77 (56 percent increase).

The Yankees and Phillies are both from gigantic media markets, so it’s not surprising that the ratings are high.  Throw in the marquee Sabathia vs. Lee matchup, and it’s even less surprising.

But last night’s Game may very well have set the stage for even better ratings — and if not ratings, certainly high-level excitement — down the road.  The Yankees win keeps it close.  Pedro Martinez’s lion-in-winter performance, even in a losing effort, was inspiring.  The fact that we’re now four for four in strong starting pitching performances is another key factor: chicks may dig the longball, but pitching duels keep people riveted to the TV come October.

One game in was too soon to crown the Phillies champs, and two games in may be too soon to call this Classic a classic.  But after two sharp games, it certainly feels like we’re heading in that direction.

  1. smsetnor - Oct 30, 2009 at 2:24 PM

    I loooove great pitching too. Too bad the bar I work at everyone wants to see home runs and can’t stop talking about how awesome the Yankees are and that they’ve been true Yankees fans since the 80’s despite wearing only Braves hats year round.
    That was a heckuva sentence. But I stand by it.

  2. Corey Kendall - Oct 30, 2009 at 6:34 PM

    I hope you’re right in saying that we might be in for a tremendous World Series; we haven’t seen one in some time. Still too early to tell, but the 1st 2 games have been pretty entertaining. I too love back-&-forth 6-5 games, like the one we saw with Minnesota & Detroit in the tiebreaker game a few weeks back. But I also enjoy watching great pitching performances like we’ve seen so far. Cliff Lee was ridiculous in Game 1( CC Sabathia was alright too, except for the 2 solo HRs he gave up in the loss ). Then we had Pedro & AJ going toe-to-toe on the rubber in Game 2, which was pretty special also. Hopefully the rest of the Series proves to be what we’re anticipating will or might happen. The postseason has been terrific this year, but a 7-game World Series would be the perfect capper on the season. I picked the Phillies in 7, but regardless who wins, if we get to see a Game 7, I will just sit back & enjoy.

  3. Michael - Oct 30, 2009 at 8:32 PM

    It seems like ALL sports are getting some high TV ratings right now: ESPN has been beating over-the-air network ratings with MNF, and the NBA opened at like the highest rating in a decade or something.
    If only the NFL could translate theirs to ticket sales. In fact, this might not bode well for attendance for any sport in this recession…er, jobless recovery.

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