Written by The Staff
Monday, 23 October 2006 06:27
Jon Weisman of SI.com goes over the yearly national ratings for the World Series, with Neilson ratings back to 1968, today. The lengthy article covers the malaise that has hit World Series viewership, with a number of quotes on the topic.
- Los Angeles Daily News sports media columnist Tom Hoffarth: "I'm constantly amazed at how much stock TV execs put into Nielsen ratings," Hoffarth said, "because they weren't created to assess the actual 'viewer attendance' but to give them some kind of vague measurement that could be used to show advertisers that this is what we think people are doing with their TV sets. Any ratings system that doesn't take into account those watching in sports bars, dorms, hotels and office buildings, and has no accountability for TiVo or DVR players, or who's watching on MLB.com on video streaming, plus has a different measure for those watching over-the-air vs. cable, just seems to be very unstable and hard to bank on.
"I'm of the Billy Packer thinking -- gasp -- that it's crazy to assume viewership is down year after year when all you read and hear and feel is that the sport is a very healthy spectator activity."
- From Maury Brown, editor of The Biz of Baseball: "MLB has been working toward better parity through revenue sharing," Baseball Prospectus business analyst Maury Brown said. "They've added the wild card, and with that, we're on the verge of the seventh different club to win the World Series in as many years. With parity comes the fact that you might wind up with matchups that might not be compelling for the average fan."
Also, as reported:
[A]nother ongoing question concerns whether MLB needs to bring the World Series back to the daytime, at least for one game. It certainly wouldn't help the short-term ratings, because more television sets are on at night, but it could be a valuable loss-leader to attract more kids, not to mention their parents and grandparents.
"I think it would recapture some of the older fans that can still remember what day games were like, and how it influenced the American culture," Brown said. "Ask some of our older fans how many skipped out of school, or listened to the game on transistor radio in class, what kind of memories those day games invoked."
Disclosure: I had about 15 classmates gathered around me and my '70s-era portable radio, out in front of the school library in ninth grade, clock ticking on my first class after lunch, when Rick Monday homered to win the 1981 NL pennant in a deciding Game 5 for the Dodgers.
Stories will always be baseball's bread and butter. Baseball's postseason ratings suffered early because, as Brown said, "some teams backed into the playoffs this year, and the [series] were not compelling, with a number of sweeps or near-sweeps."