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Ratings Tumble but Not in L.A.

World Series has record-low numbers nationally, but Game 7 has highest numbers in two years here.

October 29, 2002|Larry Stewart | Times Staff Writer

The World Series drew record-low ratings nationally, but it was a different story in Los Angeles, where they went through the roof.

For Game 7, Channel 11 got a 42.1 Nielsen rating with a 61 share, the highest L.A. rating of any kind since the 2000 Academy Awards on ABC got a 43.1/61.

No sports event has drawn that kind of L.A. rating since the 1998 Super Bowl at San Diego between Denver and Green Bay drew a 43.5/71.

The last sports event to get anywhere close to the 42.9 was a 36.9 for Game 7 of last season's Western Conference finals between the Lakers and Sacramento Kings.

Nationally, Anaheim's 4-1 victory Sunday night got a 17.9 preliminary rating and 28 share, down 24% from last year's Game 7 between Arizona and the New York Yankees (23.5/34).

The Angels' seven-game World Series triumph over the San Francisco Giants averaged a 31.1/39 in L.A., which is 102% better than the 15.4/26 last year's Series.

This year's four-game NBA Finals in June averaged 31.8/51 and the five-game NBA Finals in 2000 averaged 33.2/54.

Nationally, the World Series averaged an 11.9 rating and 20 share, 24% below last year's 15.7/26.

The previous record low was a 12.4/21 for the Yankees' five-game win over the Mets in the 2000 Subway Series.

As television ratings have dropped in general, so have ratings for the Fall Classic. Minnesota's seven-game victory over Atlanta in 1991 got a 24.0 rating and 39 share. The top Series rating was a 32.8/56 for Philadelphia's six-game victory over Kansas City in 1980.

But Fox executives were generally pleased with the ratings.

"While the viewership was not as high as we had hoped, the fact is that Fox won six of the seven nights World Series games were played, won the week in households and adults 18-49, and will finish ahead of our business forecast," said Ed Goren, president of Fox Sports.

And Fox executives in Los Angeles see a brighter future for baseball here.

"It was great to see viewers in this area get behind the Angels the way they did," said Dave Boylan, general manger of Channel 11 and Channel 13. "And it was nice to see baseball was up in general this season in Los Angeles. Now there is some real momentum.

"Looking ahead to next season, our sales staff [which also sells for Fox Sports Net] is already banging their ThunderStix."

Fox Sports Net's Angel ratings were up 40% from a year ago, Channel 9's were up 60% and Dodger ratings overall were up about 30%.

The national picture is not as pretty, even though Fox estimated that 57.9 million viewers saw Game 7, making it the most-watched program of the television season.

With the Yankees not in the World Series for the first time since 1997, the all-California matchup set record lows for an opener (9.4), Game 2 (11.9), Game 3 (10.8), Game 4 (11.8), Game 5 (10.0), Game 6 (11.8) and Game 7.

The 11.9 national average for the World Series paled in comparison to last season's Super Bowl, which got a 40.4/61. The NCAA men's basketball championship game between Maryland and Indiana got a 15.0, and Miami's national football championship Rose Bowl victory over Nebraska got a 13.8.

After Game 7, Fox Sports chairman David Hill joined in all the celebrating the Fox crew was doing in the TV complex at Edison Field. But on Saturday, Hill hadn't been so upbeat. He cited this season's labor strife as being partly responsible for the ratings decline.

"Once again, baseball managed to turn off its loyal fans," he said. "I hoped it would pick up when we got to the postseason. It certainly hasn't been what I hoped it would be.

"Our ratings had been terrific all year. They went in the bucket when all the bristling and saber rattling started."

Fox is in the second year of its six-year baseball contract.

The rating is the percentage of TV households in the U.S. watching a broadcast, and each national point represents 1,055,000 homes. The share is the percentage watching a program among those households with televisions on at the time.

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Today's Angel victory celebration will get blanket media coverage. Television coverage will be provided by Channels 4, 7 and 9 at 10 a.m., Fox Sports Net at 10:30 a.m. and Channel 11 at 11 a.m.

KSPN (1110), which becomes the Angels' flagship radio station next season, will have coverage from 6 a.m. until 4 p.m.

KLAC (570) will begin coverage at 11 a.m. and KXTA (1150) and KLAC will have joint, simulcasted coverage beginning at noon. After the celebration, both stations will carry a special Angel playoff review.

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

TV Ratings

*--* Ratings/Share L.A National Game 1 26.9/50 9.4/18 Game 2 29.8/47 11.9/20 Game 3 32.3/48 10.8/18 Game 4 30.7/46 11.8/19 Game 5 26.3/40 10.0/17 Game 6 30.6/51 11.8/21 Game 7 42.1/61 17.9/28

HIGHEST-RATED SHOWS IN L.A. THIS YEAR World Series, Game 7 Ch.11 42.1/61 Academy Awards Ch. 7 37.2/53 NBA WestConf. finals, Game 7 Ch. 4 36.9/60 Super Bowl Ch. 11 36.4/61 NBA Finals, Game 4 Ch. 4 34.0/54

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