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Major League Baseball Playoff Ratings: Dodgers/Phillies Outdraws Red Sox/Rays, But...

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October 15th, 2008

Game Network Date Viewers P2+
LA DODGERS AT PHILADELPHIA FOX 10/9/2008 7,735,000
LA DODGERS AT PHILADELPHIA FOX 10/10/2008 5,022,000
PHILADELPHIA AT LA DODGERS FOX 10/12/2008 8,837,000
PHILADELPHIA AT LA DODGERS FOX 10/13/2008 7,705,000
BOSTON RED SOX AT TAMPA BAY TBSC 10/10/2008 6,689,000
BOSTON RED SOX AT TAMPA BAY TBSC 10/11/2008 6,089,000
TAMPA BAY AT BOSTON TBSC 10/13/2008 4,499,000

Nielsen is touting that Philadelphia Phillies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers NLCS is the biggest playoff draw, with more viewers for it than any of the Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox games. That's completely true, but misses a few points:

1. Phillies/Dodgers is on a broadcast network - Fox -- and I believe all the games have aired in primetime (at least on the east coast). Boston/Tampa Bay is on TBS, and the Monday 10/13 game was played before primetime, even on the east coast.

2. Fox ratings are down versus last year when it had the ALCS with Boston and the Cleveland Indians. Game four of that series had 12.3 million. There appears little hope of a game seven for either series. Last year's game seven of the ALCS (Indians/Red Sox) drew 19 million.

3. TBS ratings are up significantly versus last year. Last year when it had the Rockies/Diamondbacks NLCS, it averaged 4.5 million for the first three games. This year, 4.5 million is what the least watched (and again, it aired before primetime) game drew. Even with that, TBS is averaging 5.75 million through three games.

The LCS series flip-flop year-to-year with Fox having the ALCS one year and the NLCS the next. If this year's series were on opposite networks, the ratings story would likely be much, much different.

Edit: alert reader Matt notes that the Dodgers vs. Phillies game two on 10/10 was also finished before primetime.

 
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