Yanks-Phils Classic sees 42% ratings jump over ’08

Wang to check in with Dr. Andrews
Thanking those behind the scenes

A year ago, those in charge of baseball were panicking a bit. The 2008 World Series ended amidst some weather-inspired controversies, and no one had watched. Ratings were down 20 percent from 2007, and average of just over 13 million fans, the lowest total since FOX started broadcasting the Fall Classic, tuned in per game. Baseball was on the verge of losing its wider national audience.

However, with the onset of the MLB Network’s wall-to-wall coverage of the sport and, more importantly, the return of the Yankees, the villain of October, to the World Series, ratings for the Series were up a record 42 percent over last year. Although this year’s wasn’t the most watched World Series of recent times, it was the fourth-highest viewed of the last decade and has restored baseball’s October dominance and popularity. Over 19 million fans tuned in each night to watch the Yankees battle the Phillies, and the numbers suggest that the Yankees, as I’ve said before, are good for baseball.

Maury Brown at the Biz of Baseball has more on the ratings:

Fueled by outstanding individual and team performances, dramatic come-from-behind wins and the most one-run games in a single postseason, each round of the 2009 MLB Postseason generated double-digit percentage year-to-year increases in average viewership as compared to 2008, capped by the 2009 World Series averaging 19.4 million viewers, a +42% increase over last year and the largest-ever year-to-year gain in viewership (previous high was 36% from 2000-2001, which followed a low viewership showing for the Subway Series).

Complete 2009 MLB Postseason coverage on FOX and TBS averaged 9.0 million viewers, up +30% over last year and the most-watched since 2005. In addition to the +42% viewership gain for the World Series on FOX, viewership for the Division Series on TBS was up +11% over last year and viewership for the League Championship Series on FOX and TBS increased +14% over 2008.

The 2009 MLB Postseason delivered extraordinary results for FOX and TBS, including leading TBS to the most-watched week in its 33-year history, and catapulting FOX to a commanding +22% lead in the key Adult 18-49 demographic against its network competition. The huge Adult 18-49 season-to-date advantage for FOX is the largest in the network’s history in the fourth quarter and the largest fourth-quarter lead for any network since 2003.

In addition to these hearty aggregate numbers, the World Series was the highest-rated network primetime show during the six nights of games, reports Brown. All over the country, people wanted to watch the Yankees.

And so fans may hate the Yanks. They may root against the team and its payroll. They may say the Steinbrenners bought another title. But the reality of it is simple: Baseball fans tune into watch Goliath because they hope David can win. When David happens to be another team with a payroll in excess of $100 million from a major media market, baseball executives can go home happy. This year, the World Series was very, very good for baseball.

Wang to check in with Dr. Andrews
Thanking those behind the scenes
  • Januz

    What is interesting about these numbers is this: Baseball needs the Yankees. It is shortsighted and counterproductive to try and weaken the Yankees. All of the mainstream media, Yankee Haters and “small market” teams (Like Boston, who claim they cannot compete because of the revenue streams created by the new stadium),should think about this: What the ratings would be for a Pirates/Royals World Series?.

  • Reggie C.

    I enjoyed the media’s take of “match-up of titans: Arod vs. Ryan Howard.” A championship bout of historic homerun hitters.

    The team match-up didn’t suffer from a lack of storylines, and the general audience really understood that this year the 2 best teams in baseball were facing each other. What also helped draw in fans of other teams is the fact that both squads had a core of farm-developed, productive players that showed the value of drafting well.

  • http://pinstripepalace.blogspot.com/ Brien Jackson

    Hang on a second. I’ve been told over and over again by every baseball-cum-NFL fan I know that baseball lacks NFL-style parity, that this is really hurting them, and that baseball desperately needs to copy everything the NFL does. Tampa Bay getting to the World Series would be great for baseball. Right?

  • e mills

    everyone is really a Yankees fan deep down.

  • aj

    Yeah Joe Buck, the Yankees are bad for baseball huh?

  • JSquared

    Well, Same NL Team from Last Year, Different AL Team. So…

    Jimmy Rollins, there’s only a few people who think the phillies are as good as you believe. (They’re Phillies Fans).

  • Jay

    Doesn’t the poor economy have something to do with this as well? I would think that people can’t afford to go out as often and instead would sit home and watch TV. Of course the Yankees are huge, but does anyone who knows about economics have any insight to this?

    • Januz

      The TV ratings have LITTLE to do with the economy (We were in a severe recession in 2008 when the ratings were 40% lower than last year). It deals with the popularity of the Yankees BOTH in New York and nationwide. Another example of this occured when the New York audience had a choice of Yankees/Angels or Giants/Cardinals and baseball more than doubled the NFL.

  • Derby

    I’ll admit that I didn’t really watch the world series last year. I watched the 2008 ALCS just because I really wanted to see the sox lose. Once the world series rolled around, I couldn’t really get into it. This year was very different though, haha. I watched from CC’s first pitch in game 1 to Cano throwing to Tex for the final out in game 6.

  • viridiana

    Does anybody know how much the Yankees as a franchise will earn from their run through the World Series? Do they get a share of the home and road gate of each game? Do they also get anything from the TV coverage? I did some back of the nevelope calculations that suggest they may have earned %35-40 million just from their share of gate receipts. But I really would be interested in some authoritative estimates.