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Game 1 of World Series is a ratings hit, even if A-Rod didn't get one

October 29, 2009 | 10:19 am

PHILLIES

Alex Rodriguez went without a hit last night, but Game 1 of the World Series between the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies scored a big number for Fox, drawing 19.5 million viewers, a 34% improvement over last year's Game 1  between the Phillies and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

The game, which was a pitchers' duel for the first seven innings until the Phillies broke it open, is the biggest opening-game audience since the Red Sox-Cardinals match of 2004, which attracted 23.2 million viewers.

For Fox, the strong start bodes well after a string of disappointing series. Last year's Phillies-Rays series drew an audience of only 13.6 million viewers. The most-watched World Series in recent years was that 2004 match, which saw the Red Sox grab their first championship since 1918. That series, which only went four games, had an average audience of 25.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

Fox, which pays $256.5 million annually for its baseball deal, is hoping that the series goes at least six or seven games to maximize the advertising potential. The shorter the series, the less revenue (duh). 

In Philadelphia, the game had a 44.5 rating. The rating is the percentage of homes watching a particular program, so in other words almost 45% of all households in Philly were tuned into the game. In New York, Fox's broadcast got a 29.7 rating.

While baseball and Fox are feeling good about Wednesday night's numbers, our friends at the NFL pointed out that Sunday afternoon's game between the Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys drew almost 28.5 million viewers.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: Phillies celebrate taking Game 1. Credit: Rich Pilling / MLB Photos via Getty Images
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