As we reported last week, MLB will adjust the postseason schedule this year to allow for more time to deal with weather issues. Game 2 of the ALDS was rained out last year, as was Game 5 of the NLCS and Game 4 of the World Series.
But there may be more to the mid-week move, as determined by MLB and FOX.
Announced today, MLB will move the World Series from its Saturday start to Wednesday. With the move, Games Six and Seven will be scheduled for a Wednesday and Thursday. With the move, the World Series may potentially be purposely scheduled in November for the first time as a Game 7 would be played on Nov. 1.
MLB and FOX are looking at the poor ratings the last two seasons, and trying to grab fan attention earlier on. As reported by Michael Hiestand of USA Today:
The idea is to make the Series, which produced its lowest-ever ratings the past two years, more media-genic. It's like a TV mini-series, where it's critical to hook viewers from the get-go. With its first two games on Wednesday and Thursday, rather than Saturday and Sunday, it will debut in the sports world's spotlight — not competing for attention with football (and NASCAR and golf) on the weekend. Says Fox Sports president Ed Goren on starting mid-week: "It's very simple. You're immediately helping yourself."
In the new schedule, the Series will skip Friday night, TV's second least-watched night after Saturday. Bob DuPuy, MLB president, says MLB considered starting the Series on Tuesday, rather than Wednesday. But a Tuesday Series start would have meant a Friday game — and avoiding Friday was a key priority.
The Series rejiggering revolves around Saturday night not being all right for the Series' opening night. It will start Wednesday, Oct. 24, four days after what would have been its usual Saturday debut. Not only is Saturday TV's least-watched night — its overall TV viewership is 15% lower than Wednesday night — but it's also become increasingly competitive. ABC last year began routinely moving marquee college football to Saturday primetime, when ESPN and ESPN2 also carry games, and got seven of last season's eight most-watched college football games.
Once again, MLB and the postseason television schedule gets jerked around. Heaven knows there's no decline in viewership simply because there's no regularity from season to season in regards to where the games are carried and when they will be broadcast.
What do you think of the change in the television schedule? Don't forget to add your comments.