Obama, Romney Debate Up Against National League Baseball Final for Monday Night Viewers

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney
 Getty Images

As if their race wasn’t tight enough, President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney now have to hope that more Americans would prefer to sit through a debate on foreign policy than watch the seventh and deciding game of a thrilling National League pennant final.

Good luck with that one, guys.

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At their parties’ national conventions, both candidates had to contend with competing television events that threatened to drain their national audiences. For Romney in Tampa, it was a hurricane that menaced not only Tampa, but also the Gulf coast on the anniversary of the Katrina disaster, absorbing an unexpected share of the cable news networks’ attention. Democratic convention organizers found themselves sharing a busy TV week with the MTV Video Awards and the kickoff of the National Football League season. Both MTV and the NFL modified their broadcasting plans so as not to compete with Obama.

Major League Baseball, at present, has no such accommodation. When the San Francisco Giants completed their stunning comeback against the St. Louis Cardinals Sunday, it triggered a seventh and deciding game for tonight. The first pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. PST, just an hour before Obama and Romney square off in their third and final confrontation.

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Foreign policy always has been a hard-sell on television, so maybe the real ratings winner here will be Fox, which can shrug its shoulders and point out that it’s contractually obligated to air what should be a first-rate baseball game, rather than an extended argument over Chinese trade policy.

Stay tuned for the overnights.

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