World Series ratings at record low

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NEW YORK -- The 2006 World Series logged the series' lowest ratings ever, according to preliminary data compiled by Nielsen Media Research.

The 10.1 household rating/17 share for the five-game series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers beat the record low tallied by last year's World Series. In 2005, the Houston Astros-Chicago White Sox four-game series averaged an 11.1/19 household rating, which was the lowest since the 2000 Subway Series between the New York Yankees and the New York Mets (12.4/21).

Friday's game, which the Cardinals won to clinch the championship, averaged 16.3 million viewers according to time-zone adjusted fast-national ratings assembled by Nielsen. It averaged a 5.0 rating in adults 18-49, giving Fox the win for the night in both measures.

Game 5 marked the first time in three years that the World Series went more than four games, and it was the first Friday night World Series game since Fox took over airing duties. Fox won in major demos during each of the five games.

In a conference call with reporters last week announcing the Turner Broadcasting rights deal, Major League Baseball executives said they were concerned with the ratings but would wait until the end of the series to comment.

But Fox executives could not have been happy about getting a series with smaller-market teams St. Louis and Detroit. Fox said Sunday night that a contributing factor to the low turnout was the fact that St. Louis and Detroit had 800,000 fewer households than last year's teams.

That is not to say that the series wasn't popular in the teams' cities. St. Louis averaged a 4.9 rating/65 share for the entire World Series -- including a 5.1/71 for the clincher. Only Phoenix (5.3/72) in 2001 and Boston (5.1/72) in 2004, when both teams won the World Series, rated higher. Detroit averaged a 36.9/53 for the series.
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