Fox’s coverage of World Series hits ratings low


The Detroit Tigers won’t be the only ones eager to forget the World Series.

The San Francisco Giants sweep of the Tigers in the Fall Classic may have been great news for the City by the Bay but it was bad news for Fox.

According to Nielsen, an average of about 12.7 million viewers watched the 2012 World Series, which makes it the least watched on record. The previous low for a World Series was in 2008, when the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Tampa Bay Rays in five games. That series averaged 13.6 million viewers.


Last year, the more exciting series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers averaged 16.6 million viewers. The 2010 series featuring the Giants and Rangers averaged 14.2 million viewers.

The series between the Tigers and Giants had low ratings in part because only the last game (won in extra innings) was particularly compelling. Also, even though the Tigers and Giants have loyal followings, neither has the national presence of the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox. When one of those two teams is in the series, ratings tend to be higher, as was the case in 2009 when almost 20 million people on average watched the Bronx Bombers beat the Phillies.

Fox tried to put a good face on the numbers, which came just weeks after the network agreed to almost double its annual rights fee for baseball from $257 million to $495 million starting with the 2014 season.

“It’s important for us to remain focused on the Series relative to today’s competitive environment rather than bygone years,” said Michael Mulvihill, senior vice president of programming and research for Fox Sports Media Group. “The World Series remains a powerful force in prime time and we’re fortunate to have the Fall Classic for at least nine more years to look forward to.”

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Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.


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