A conversation about MLB, on the field, off the field.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

From the basement October 28

World Series games start too late?

Game 4 of the World Series tonight, I'm likely to fall asleep again before the completion. Woke up sitting on the couch around 12:15 last nite, checked the score & inning - 9-5, top of 8 - and said to hell with it and went to bed. Checked the time of the game this AM in the boxscore, 4:19. Wow.

What I've written above is the same griping that I have been reading for years in newspapers ( and more recently blogs ) on the stupidly late start times of World Series games and the harm it does to MLB. For years writers have been complaining about it - of course it's always about the kids, poor little one's can't stay up to see the end - and criticizing MLB for it's ignorance and incompetence in marketing itself. Over these years I've wondered....On the one hand I see the writers' point, I'm falling asleep, I have to guess most others are as well, that can't be good. On the other hand I always knew that the folks who run TV sports and MLB aren't stupid. MLB has grown it's revenues to $6 billion, it doesn't happen by accident, they do understand marketing & TV.

Well finally I've seen the numbers and no surprise, the writers and bloggers have it wrong. See the comments below from reporter Eric Fisher on his recent SBJ piece. ( Thanks to Maury Brown )

"The ratings data, over a period of years, shows that the later a game starts and finishes, the better rating – across all demographics with the exception of adults aged 55 and above. For MLB postseason specifically, ratings for all demos except the 55+ crowd went up after 11 p.m., and the World Series year after year gets 4 to 6 percent of its total viewing audience from viewers aged 11 and under. It’s a refrain the networks have been making for years, but it goes directly against the grain of East Coast columnist opinion claiming the late-night play is eroding youth interest in MLB......... Basically what we have is a collision of two less-than-perfect methods of research – Nielsen’s sampling versus the tiny focus groups of one or two in the homes of each columnist decrying the playoff TV schedule."

FOX

The baseball bloggers and the baseball writers are united, FOX's post season baseball coverage is awful. I read a lot of baseball stuff, blogs, big media, geek boutique, industry publications...and the reaction is loud, widespread and endless. I think there is so much being written about it because it's not - to this point - been an entertaining World Series for us hardcores ( TV numbers are great because casual fans know who the Red Sox are ) so it gives us one more thing to blather on about. As for the blogosphere in particular, I think the anti FOX bleating is in some part due to a contrived, anti corporate attitude. We're bloggers, we're not FOX. Big deal.

TV Ratings

I was disappointed that the Indians were eliminated because the TV ratings for an Indians / Rockies World Series would have been the worst ever - easily. In turn it would have been the most overreported story of the World Series. Great gobs of misinformed commentary amongst general sports columnists about the declining popularity of baseball in America. Instead the superstar Red Sox are in, TV ratings are great and MLB is doing a great job - it's all that simple.

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