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The World Series continues to get poor ratings

Oct 25, 2013, 9:05 PM EDT

old TV

Major League Baseball has had ratings problems in recent years and that has continued during the World Series. The website Sports Media Watch writes that Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday night got the third-worst overnight ratings ever, ahead of last year’s Game 2 between the Giants and Tigers, as well as the Phillies and Rays in 2008.

They add that Games 1 and 2 between the Cardinals and Red Sox thus far earned a single-digit overnight for the second time in history, joining Games 1 and 2 between the Tigers and Giants in 2012.

There are a lot of reasons why the World Series is struggling and it’s not a problem that can realistically be addressed in one fell swoop. Some of it has to do with the scarcity of baseball games, some of it has to do with the pace, some with the culture surrounding the game, and that’s just the start. It seems like an issue that will need to be addressed by whoever takes over as commissioner of Major League Baseball once Bud Selig retires following the 2014 season.

113 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. jhorton83 - Oct 25, 2013 at 11:22 PM

    It might have something to do with the fact that outside of Boston and St. Louis, people are tired of seeing the same goddamn teams in the World Series over and over again. 3rd appearance for the Red Sox in the last 9 years, 4th appearance for the Cardinals. 2nd time they’ve played each other in that span. It’s just not interesting unless you’re a Red Sox or Cardinals fan.

    • phipfwe76 - Oct 26, 2013 at 7:27 AM

      I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m in that boat. Baseball is my favorite sport, and I’ve watched multiple games a night almost every night since April. But when it was determined to be STL-BOS, I lost interest. I’ve seen both these teams in the World Series too often lately. I’ll admit I haven’t watched more than an inning of each game, and probably won’t watch anymore unless there’s a Game 7. Obviously, this is just one person’s opinion.

    • tadthebad - Oct 26, 2013 at 7:34 AM

      I disagree. If that was the case, wouldn’t the recent Super Bowls get poor ratings? Pats alone have been in 5 Super Bowls since 2002, Pats/Giants twice in four years, Steelers and Colts each in multiple championships, and we see many of the same teams make the NFL playoffs each season. I think it has more to do with the public’s perception of the sport more so than repeat contenders or broadcast issues.

    • paperlions - Oct 26, 2013 at 11:51 AM

      If that were true, then WS ratings would be tied to the novelty of the teams involved.

      The lowest rated WS ever was last year, followed closely by 2010 and 2008.

      In 2008, Tampa was in its first WS and Philly had not been in a long time, that was easily the lowest rated series ever.

      In 2010, SF was there for the first time in 8 years (and they had still never won since moving to SF) and the Rangers for the first time ever, and that tied the 2008 series for lowest ever.

      In 2012, it was SF again and the Tigers for the first time since 2006, with the Tigers still winless since 1984….and that was rated even lower.

      While people may have more of a rooting interest in novel matchups, there is no evidence that novelty affect TV ratings at all.

    • ckendall27 - Oct 31, 2013 at 8:55 PM

      The same folks who complain about the ‘same ol’ teams’ in the World Series are probably the same ones complaining when it’s two small market teams that nobody seems to pay attention to. So, what…no matter which teams are playing in the World Series, people will ALWAYS complain about it every damn year?

  2. bat42boy - Oct 25, 2013 at 11:44 PM

    Maybe it’s because Fox is broadcasting the game with the lousy announcing crew. Their voices are horrible. Buck is only 10% of what his father was as an announcer. McCarver should have retired 15 years ago. They did a poor job of pre game and the crazy talking telling me what I will be seeing. Very boring. No hype on Fox’s part, just plain stale old ego talking by has Beens. They definitely lost me.

    • peterjohnjoseph - Oct 25, 2013 at 11:55 PM

      Like I just said to someone else-

      You don’t have a chance to turn the game off if the commentators bother you, if you never turned the game on in the first place, and thats the major problem here.

  3. Jack Marshall - Oct 26, 2013 at 12:44 AM

    The Fox broadcasts are awful, that’s beyond debate. How much hype from every angle regarding Wacha did we have to hear? Why were his parents being interviewed while the game was going on? Why can’t we just watch the game? And the number of ads between innings is unbelievable.

    The main reason World Series ratings are off, though, are 1) all the play-off games and 2) interleague play. It’s not special like it once was, even to baseball fans.

    • km9000 - Oct 26, 2013 at 1:09 AM

      I don’t know what impact interleague has. I don’t see why it would affect a diehard’s decision to watch. Younger fans probably don’t even realize that interleague is relatively new.

    • bjbeliever - Oct 26, 2013 at 2:19 AM

      I strongly believe that the AL should do away with the DH, but I can’t see how interleague play affects ratings. If anything I look forward to getting to see my Blue Jays have to bat.

    • paperlions - Oct 26, 2013 at 11:57 AM

      I think you are right with with respect to the shear number of playoff games. Even as a Cardinal fan, I have playoff fatigue. Fans of other teams were probably more interested in watching the WS when it happened right after the season ended…now, you have a month of continuous hype about the 2 teams in the series. Just about everything you might not have known or any player you might not have seen yet…you have learned or seen before you get to the WS.

      In addition, non-elimination games are generally boring to fans of the other 28 teams. Who cares? It is just a game in a series and NOTHING will be determined in it.

      I am too disinterested to bother looking it up, but I bet that 7 game series with multiple elimination games get far better ratings (all else being equal), because the Championship is FINALLY on the line.

  4. hildezero - Oct 26, 2013 at 12:45 AM

    @rje49,

    You’re a knucklehead. Your comment says a lot about you. An old @$$ diehard baseball fan! I’m a young guy and I know I speak for the young generation when I say, that you have to realize that baseball is getting boring. With all these cheaters being exposed while breaking records is hurting the sport. There was a study done that got international attention that showed that the two most popular sports for people in USA at the age of 12-24 was football at one and soccer at two. Why won’t you old hag accept the changes?!

    • peterjohnjoseph - Oct 26, 2013 at 1:28 AM

      I’m pretty sure all the “young guys” you just spoke for are really wishing you didn’t.

    • kavika6 - Oct 26, 2013 at 7:18 AM

      “soccer at two”

      Soccer? Are you kidding me? This is America. Most of the people I’ve ever known would put soccer at fifth, if at all. What about basketball?

    • paperlions - Oct 26, 2013 at 12:00 PM

      As someone that gets to interact with “young people” on a daily basis, I can tell you that cheating doesn’t bother very many of them at all….getting caught bothers them, but from a moral perspective, they have no idea why cheating is wrong….because according to them “everybody does it.”

  5. Old Gator - Oct 26, 2013 at 1:07 AM

    I suspect that one northeast team and one midwest team cuts out the entire western half of the country as far as fan interest is concerned. At least Boston has some additional cachet. I shudder to think of how small the numbers for a Detroit-St.Louis world series would be. Someone might trip over a Higgs boson walking to the plate from the on-deck circle.

    • peterjohnjoseph - Oct 26, 2013 at 1:31 AM

      The scary thing is, Detroit beat out Boston in the local ratings during the ALCS. Even in Boston the bandwagon ain’t what it used to be pre-04′.. just ain’t as trendy to jump on I guess.

    • deacon85 - Oct 26, 2013 at 7:48 AM

      There’s nothing like starting the day reading commentary about baseball with some references to particle physics thrown in. Well done, Old Gator.

    • paperlions - Oct 26, 2013 at 12:10 PM

      Those ratings were discernibly different than other series when those 2 teams met in 2006. In fact, the White Sox-Astros matchup in 2005 did better than Boston-Colorado in 2007 or any series with the Giants in it.

    • drewzducks - Oct 26, 2013 at 3:45 PM

      Higgs boson… I thought that was a typo from a Tigers’ Bobby Higginson reference. My bad.

  6. derklempner - Oct 26, 2013 at 1:27 AM

    Probably because they’re two of the four or five most-hated teams in MLB. I don’t know why, given their histories, but they seem to be near the top of that list of most fans.

    Personally speaking, I think baseball has taken a back seat to football in this country.

    • kavika6 - Oct 26, 2013 at 7:21 AM

      Jealousy.

  7. jdillydawg - Oct 26, 2013 at 1:34 AM

    The games are all blacked out here in Los Angeles. We’re still in mourning.

    Too many teams make the playoffs. In hockey, you show up, you’re in. Basketball is getting like that.

    I miss the old days, 4 divisions, four winners play for the pennant, the two best duke it out for the title.

    The people who run sports need to understand that, yes, there is such a thing as “too much of a good thing.” More does not make better. It just makes more. Which, from the ratings, actually means people make le$$!

    • Old Gator - Oct 26, 2013 at 12:41 PM

      I miss the older days when the winners of the pennant in either league met at the beginning of October for the World Series and we were clear for the basketball preseason by the middle of the second week in October. Quick, clean and simple – and those seven games were each solitary enough to be big events in themselves.

      Now pardon me – my velociraptor has treed the meter reader again….

  8. zigsmart - Oct 26, 2013 at 1:45 AM

    Who cares? If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.

  9. cwdrew1 - Oct 26, 2013 at 1:50 AM

    Baseball games start too late, post season drags on until Halloween and beyond, same damn teams in playoffs year after year, games are too slow, commercials are too long, FOX announcers absolutely stink, 90 slow-mo replays from 20 different angles, needless in-game interviews, long stringy hair and ugly bushy beards, etc. There are tons of reasons I’m done with baseball in post season. It’s football season – who cares about baseball right now.

    • ckendall27 - Oct 31, 2013 at 8:57 PM

      Yes you hate EVERYTHING about baseball, we get it already!

  10. kingscourt25 - Oct 26, 2013 at 2:35 AM

    Even though they’re the Red Sox and it’s Boston, the 2013 is kinda boring set of players.They have the beards thing, but I’m not going out of my way to watch a Shane Victorino or a Jonny Gomes at bat. And then Cardinals since LaRussa/Mattheny have always been a zzzzz. They also have the snobbish personality that probably rubs people the wrong way.

    And yes, McCarver needs to go somewhere.

  11. jrs1972 - Oct 26, 2013 at 3:15 AM

    Im in mass and I watched the bruins the other night over the red sox.. 98% of watching a baseball game is watching a man stand on grass. Kind of grew out of the whole baseball thing after high school.

    Patriots preseason games blow away redsox games in the ratings even when they are fighting for the playoffs around here. Going to have to speed that game up big time if you want viewers back..

  12. louhudson23 - Oct 26, 2013 at 4:30 AM

    The world has changed. We,as a country do not sit down at the same time and watch a broadcast together.Especially not one which is spread out over two weeks. TV ratings against pas WS are irrelevant. What single program outdrew the games? Check out …http://www.hitfix.com/the-fien-print/tv-ratings-world-series-game-2-weakens-big-bang-theory-scandal-on-thursday This is what matters and baseball still kicks ass. More people watch and attend baseball than any other sport in the U.S. when regional broadcast and radio are included.

  13. hodag54501 - Oct 26, 2013 at 5:14 AM

    I’ve taken stock of my own sports TV watching. I follow the Packers, Brewers, Bucks and Wisconsin Badgers. If one of those teams aren’t playing, I’m not watching or listening. I see the Cardinals quite a bit during the season and know most of the players. I don’t follow the Red Sox. I work early and I’m not going to stay up to watch a game that I have little interest in. The weekend series games should be on during the day or late afternoon.
    I also think baseball needs a shakeup in it’s marketing. The game has some really outstanding athletes, but you never hear much about them. They need to get into the social media mind.

  14. slizzyslizz - Oct 26, 2013 at 5:49 AM

    #1: In 50 years, no one will watch baseball. It was invented when there was absolutely nothing else to do.

    • slizzyslizz - Oct 26, 2013 at 5:50 AM

      Courtesy of @GSElevator

    • paperlions - Oct 26, 2013 at 12:24 PM

      If 50 years, it is possible that there will not be MLB, or television. The lack of investment in infrastructure combined with waste, pollution, and over population have things going in a rather dire direction. It is also possible that clean water and arable land will be the only commodities of true value, with the ability to protect those things coming in a close second.

  15. theskinsman - Oct 26, 2013 at 6:06 AM

    If MLB continues to have 8PM start times, the ratings will continue to fall. People have many ways to stay tuned even if they schedule day games. I recall having a cheap transistor radio glued to my ear in 1967 and getting in trouble for having it in school. Now I could watch it on a computer,phone, whatever.
    If there was a way to eliminate the 10,0000 breaks for commercials,it would help a great deal.Just run banners at the bottom of the screen.

  16. bh0673 - Oct 26, 2013 at 6:10 AM

    This year I have had a hard time getting excited about the post season a lot of which has to do with a very long season as a Yankee fan which was draining and disappointing. Another reason is as much as this seasons Red Sox team while a very good team is still the Red Sox but all that aside the biggest reason is Joe Buck he can ruin a baseball game. ESPN finally listened and dripped Miller and Morgan maybe it’s time Fox does the same with Buck.

  17. sfm073 - Oct 26, 2013 at 6:43 AM

    Fans are still attending games and local broadcast are doing great. When players like hunter pence are no longer getting 5 year contracts I’ll worry.

  18. gmsalpha - Oct 26, 2013 at 7:21 AM

    There are no stars any more in baseball. I hardly can say I know half of the All-Stars. I grew up with names like Ken Griffey Jr, Ozzie Smith, Cal Ripken Jr, Eric Davis, and Darryl Strawberry & Dwight Gooden. Now who do we have? Anyone with a lot of name recognition is recently retired or getting old with a steep decline in play.

    And yes, it’s the same teams over and over, and we say we want new teams. But do we really?

    Would we tune in to see the Marlins vs A’s? Reds vs Mariners? Astros vs Mets?

    We’ve all but lost the African American fan base, as there are only a handful of African American players any more, and it’s likely to stay on pace or decrease in numbers, turning young kids even more toward football and basketball. And a lot of the up and coming stars need translators, or speak horrible English. Not their fault by any means, but to an old-time baseball fan? That could easily be a turn-off.

  19. rungame8732 - Oct 26, 2013 at 7:47 AM

    All you old hacks on here are crying about baseball and the new generation. Baseball is trash. Nobody cares. It’s all about the NFL and NBA. This ain’t the 1920′s anymore grandpa. Get with it.

    • joecool16280 - Oct 26, 2013 at 2:04 PM

      So you make a habit of going on sites about “trash”? Hmmm

    • ckendall27 - Oct 31, 2013 at 8:59 PM

      Then why don’t we get rid of EVERYTHING else but NFL & NBA, would you like it that way??

  20. saintsfire - Oct 26, 2013 at 7:53 AM

    Joe blowhard buck and great great granpa McCarver
    amazing they are 100% less awful than last time we tuned in, mellowed some, some, some
    still 900% terribad

  21. madtownthrowdown - Oct 26, 2013 at 8:06 AM

    Boston is the Yankees of the late 90′s early 2000′s. No one cares to watch Boston and it’s whiny fans anymore.

  22. godsmacked1 - Oct 26, 2013 at 8:24 AM

    MLB went for the money-grab and thought everybody wants to see big market teams ALL THE TIME. It’s overkill seeing the Yankees and Red Sox every year. Competitive imbalance is what has killed the sport. I don’t give me “baseball is local” crap, Calcaterra. High school football is local. MLB is national, and when the fans of 3/4 of your franchises come into the every season for the last 20+ years knowing they have little to no chance to win, your fan base erodes and your ratings go bye-bye. The NFL succeeds because the salary cap evens the playing field, and 2-14 teams one year can start the next season 7-0 bring back lost fans.

  23. 4d3fect - Oct 26, 2013 at 8:46 AM

    One word: Blernsball.

  24. bbk1000 - Oct 26, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    I started losing interest after interleague play….was was a novelty is now commonplace….

  25. jjh1982 - Oct 26, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    Its football season, baseball is too long and boring to watch, unless you’re actually at the game

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