MLB Postseason Talk

Baseball Analysis with SI.com's Tim Marchman

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  • 12:11 PM ET  11.03

By Sky Andrecheck, HardballTimes.com

With the World Series heading back to Yankee Stadium, the Series is finally beginning to live up to its significant hype. Two big-market franchises and a plethora of star players made this a highly anticipated matchup, and it's starting to deliver.

 

Last week at Baseball Analysts I talked about how this Series may be the second most-compelling matchup in the past 25 years. Have the TV viewers agreed with my assessment? Looking at just the first two games of each Series since 1985 (the quality and length of the Series could distort the ratings if we look at all games) the Philadelphia/New York matchup doesn’t seem to be one of baseball’s biggest draws over the past 25 years.  In fact, with a first-two-game average rating of 11.8, it ranked just 18th out of 24 Series. 

 

However, this doesn’t take into account the fact that World Series ratings, along with ratings for other big-ticket events, have steadily decreased over the past 25 years. Graphing the average first-two-game ratings shows the ratings steadily declining in a mostly linear fashion.  

Ratings

If we compare the World Series ratings to what we would have expected to see given the yearly declining nature of the ratings overall, we see that the 2009 World Series ranks much better than normally would be expected.  According to the regression, we would have expected an 8.6 rating for the first two games of the 2009 Series. What Fox got was actually an 11.8 rating, a 36-percent increase over the expected viewership.

This boost is the highest over the past 25 years, indicating that the 2009 World Series, according to the ratings, just may have been the greatest, most compelling matchup in recent memory, greater even than the epic 2004 World Series matchup between the Cardinals and Red Sox, which rated a 29-percent increase over the expected viewership. What’s unfortunate was that the 2004 Series was massively anticlimactic, as the Sox erased their curse in just four games. Though it remains to be seen how this Series will turn out, Monday’s Phillies victory assured that it will go at least six games, making it a certain winner for baseball and its TV affiliates.

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