The right team makes the difference

So much for the notion of viewers fleeing major sporting events… If you are the L.A. Lakers, New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, or the Boston Red Sox – it’s instant ratings gold.

Game One of the Rockies-Red Sox World Series on Fox grabbed a 10.5 household overnight rating and a 5.8 in adults 18-49, up 61 percent in the demo from last year’s Game One between the Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals.

In Boston, the game nabbed a 49.3 household rating and a 70 share on WFXT, while in Denver, it nabbed a 34.9/50 on KDVR-TV. WFXT and KDVR are owned by Fox.

Though Boston is the country’s seventh-largest TV market, the Red Sox have fan bases from coast-to-coast, even here in Chicago. Some teams in larger markets (notably the Chicago White Sox, Oakland A’s and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – try saying that fast -) have smaller bases. In fact, all three were responsible for the lowest-rated World Series ever at one time or another since 1989 (with the A’s responsible for two of them.)

The ratings comes as good news for Fox and for major sports events in particular, as several major events, such as the NBA Finals and the Stanley Cup Finals posted record-low numbers. However, those matchups featured teams with little or no national following (one was even out of the country – the Ottawa Senators made the Stanley Cup Finals last season. Ottawa is Canada’s capital city, located in the province of Ontario.)

As for other fare last night, Kid Nation recorded a series-high number in viewers, but still finished fourth, while Phenomenon – a new show NBC quietly snuck onto the schedule – finished third, but the ratings were in line with what the network expected. Gossip Girl bombed again last night, but heck, since the CW isn’t using the Nielsen ratings to measure its performance, does it really matter?

updated 8:15pm on 2007-10-25