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2009 World Series Expects Big Market Appeal
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2009 World Series Expects Big Market Appeal

A World Series match-up of two teams located in the densely populated northeast corridor, may bring a viewership boon to MLB, FOX, and their advertisers.

The top-market Yankees, with almost 20 million viewers in the New York City area (6.5% of the US), boasted the most viewers per game of all MLB teams during the regular season.  In 2009, the Yankees received an average audience of 445,000 viewers on YES in New York . Their following has continued to grow in the playoffs, with an average of 2.1 million New Yorkers tuning into the ALCS on FOX, with nearly 3 million for the decisive Game 6, despite the hometown Giants playing simultaneously on Sunday Night Football.

And the Pinstripes stretch out in all directions beyond New York’s five boroughs.  In Hartford/New Haven and Buffalo, where YES also broadcasts games during the regular season, the Yankees averaged 11.8, and 8.9 household ratings, respectively, during the ALCS on FOX – both well above the Metered Market Average of 7.7.

MLB WORLD SERIES VIEWERSHIP ON FOX SINCE 2001

(Winning team in BOLD)

YEAR AL TEAM NL TEAM AVG. # OF VIEWERS
2008 Tampa Bay Rays Philadelphia Phillies 13,635,000
2007 Boston Red Sox Colorado Rockies 17,123,000
2006 Detroit Tigers St. Louis Cardinals 15,812,000
2005 Chicago White Sox Houston Astros 17,162,000
2004 Boston Red Sox St. Louis Cardinals 25,390,000
2003 NY Yankees Florida Marlins 20,143,000
2002 LA Angels SF Giants 19,261,000
2001 NY Yankees Arizona Dbacks 24,528,000
Source: The Nielsen Company 2009

Meanwhile, Philadelphia may relish the role of underdog on the field, but it is, after all, the fourth largest market (7.4 million viewers) and home to the defending World Series champions.  The Phillies themselves have long played second fiddle to the NFL’s Eagles, and while the city no doubt bleeds Eagle green, there is an increasing amount of red mixed in. The Phillies’ 7.1 household rating this season for games on Comcast SportsNet more than doubled their 2003 average, and was up 25% from 2008.

This year’s playoffs have even seen the Phillies putting up Eagle-esque viewing numbers:  The NLCS averaged a 29.6 household rating in the Philly market, the highest local rating for any team in the playoffs, and up 13% from their 2008 NLCS against the Dodgers.