TV Viewers Give Subway Series Lowest-Ever Ratingsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread
Wednesday October 25 2:58 PM ET
TV Viewers Give Subway Series Lowest-Ever Ratings
By Steve James
NEW YORK (Reuters) - ``Fuhgeddaboudit'' -- that's New York-ese for Forget About It!
And that was the message Wednesday from the rest of America as ratings for the first two games of the all-New York World Series between the Yankees and the Mets dipped below the lowest-ever for the baseball championship.
It may be a big event in the Big Apple, but the rest of the country is tuning out, according to the Nielsen Media Research figures for the games Saturday and Sunday, which were both won by the champion New York Yankees.
The Mets won Tuesday's third game in the best-of-seven series, but preliminary TV ratings were not immediately available.
Quite naturally, the first ``Subway Series'' between two New York teams in 44 years has drawn huge ratings in the city -- an average of 41.9 or some 2.8 million viewers to the broadcast on the Fox TV network of News Corp. Ltd. affiliate Fox Entertainment Group.
But outside the five boroughs and surrounding suburbs, the games might as well be played between two teams from Mars.
The national average for the first two games garnered a 12.1 rating -- down from the previous lowest rating of 14.1 in 1998, when the Yankees swept the San Diego Padres. Each household rating point represents an estimated 994,000 homes, or 1 percent of the country's TV households.
Compared with last year's Yankees-Atlanta Braves series on General Electric Co.'s NBC (14.6), this year's Fall Classic is off by 17 percent through two games.
Since 1968, Nielsen said the highest-rated World Series were the Yankees-Los Angeles Dodgers clash in 1978 and the 1980 matchup between the Kansas City Royals and the Philadelphia Phillies. Both series -- which lasted six games and featured two day-games each -- had a massive 32.8 rating, representing an average 44 million and 42 million viewers respectively.
By comparison, just over 19 million fans have tuned in to each of the first two Yankees-Mets games. Interestingly, the last time two teams from the same metropolitan area met in the World Series -- the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics in 1989 -- there was a relatively low TV rating of 16.4.
The current Series is also losing ground from a competitive standpoint. Last season, the first two games of the Series ranked second and fifth for the week in total viewers, while this season they placed eighth and 12th.
According to preliminary Nielsen figures released by Fox, the all-New York affair isn't playing in the rest of the country, with numbers ranging from a low of 7.7 in Pittsburgh to 13.5 in Houston.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, whose two teams were defeated by the Mets and Yankees in the playoffs, fans were disappointed there was no Giants-A's series. ``We think it should be a BART series,'' said newsstand worker Richard Nano, referring to the Bay Area Transit System.
Nano added he had rooted for the Yankees because the Mets knocked off the Giants in the National League Championship. But he switched allegiance after Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens threw part of a broken bat in the direction of Mets catcher Mike Piazza in Game 2.
In Boston, there is a long history of animosity between the hometown Red Sox and the Yankees and also against the Mets because they beat Boston in the 1986 series.
``The subway series is uninteresting to a Red Sox fan. But I'm pulling for the Mets because I hate the Yankees,'' said William Borge. The 71-year-old retired plumber from Gloucester, Mass., said he doesn't like the fabled Yankee pinstripes or the team's ``hoity-toity winning streak.
``The pinstripes smack of money and elitism,'' Borge said.
In Chicago, where, the New York Times pointed out, there has not been a World Series winner since the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, one White Sox fan was philosophical.
``Fans' minds are so twisted by the poor performance of the (football) Bears, I don't think they know how to react to the Subway Series,'' said Rick Strilky, an art restorer.
``There's a lot of people who think the Yankees, since they spent $25 million on players just since the All-Star game, are trying to buy it (the championship).
``Most people are disheartened that the Yankees are back in it. They'd like to see the White Sox or somebody else. It makes it a lot less interesting sporting event when one team piles on.''
-- (email@example.com), October 25, 2000
-- (fat slow @ ass. pickers), October 26, 2000.