I'll risk the "Dewey Defeats Truman" moment (Red Sox up 10-2 in the eighth inning) and write that Fox is smiling because there will be a game 7 of the ALCS. This year's ALCS is outperforming last year's ratings wise. But last year's ALCS had 2 relatively small market teams - Oakland and Detroit, and Detroit swept Oakland in 4 games.
|MLB ALCS Viewers||Game 1||Game 2||Game 3||Game 4||Game 5||Game 6||Game 7|
I know Mr. Gorman considers Boston a relatively small market when comparing it to the size of the markets of the other teams making the playoffs, but that's not how baseball seems to work.
The proxy I use to gauge drawing power is stadium attendance of teams when they are the road team*. That link shows pretty clearly that "Red Sox Nation" is uh...a national phenomenon. The Red Sox outdrew even the Yankees (who came in second) on the road. By contrast, the "big market" LA Angels (of Anaheim) were 23rd out of 30 teams - the Rockies did better. They were #11. Not much love for the Indians on the road though, Cleveland was #27.
Playoff game sevens are a big deal in the sporting world and this is the first series in this year's playoffs to go the maximum distance. The first round ALDS games were best out of 5, but none of them went 5 games, and the Rockies swept the diamondbacks in 4 games in the NLCS.
Either Fox planned poorly by inserting the extra day off in Cleveland so it could have game 7 played on a Sunday, or it has data that promoting your own shows on a Sunday night is way more effective than promoting them on Fridays or Saturdays.
Traditionally, in a 2-3-2 series, the 3 games in the middle are played consecutively without any days off. Had they done it that way, Fox could have broadcast Game 6 on Friday night (a horrible night for Fox ratings) and game 7 on Saturday night vs. college football.
Now game 7 will go head-to-head with the Sunday Night Football matchup of Pittsburgh vs. Denver. Though the Broncos aren't so hot this year, the Steelers are 4-1. When you get into the "hmmm, two televisions or a sports bar with both?" discussion, well, that's good for the sports bars, but not optimal for Fox.
If the Red Sox win game 7 Fox will be so happy it won't care. Besides, both Sunday Night and Monday Night football had record low numbers for their last games but that's a story for another post.
*For the more casual baseball fans who looked at the attendance charts, the reason the Red Sox home attendance #s are so smallish is because Fenway Park, the greatest ballpark on earth, is a small ballpark that relative to most stadiums doesn't hold nearly as many people.
All viewer and ratings data ©Nielsen Media Research 2006-2007. 2006 viewing information LIVE+7, 2007 based on overnight results.