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Not that they'll admit it but Fox honchos would love Phillies to beat Yankees tonight

November 2, 2009 |  3:52 pm

Series-logo_150 Depending on how many pitching changes there are, the Fox network can earn as much as $130 million  from advertising sales for each of the Yankees-Phillies World Series games. So what do you think? Does Fox want the Phillies to win tonight and extend this Series at least to a sixth game in New York?

Well, we wouldn't even ask because, well, of course the answer would be yes. And for more reasons than extra advertising.

This series has been a ratings hit. Game 4 ratings from Sunday showed that an average of 22.8 million watched the Yankees win and take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven matchup. It was the most-watched Game 4 since 2004 (Red Sox-Cardinals).

So far, the Yanks and Phils are up 45% in ratings over last year's Tampa Bay-Philadelphia series (what, you mean the Yankees draw more eyes than the Rays?)

The World Series has also helped Fox to a No. 1 spot in prime-time viewership in that most-coveted of categories -- ages 18 to 49. Any of you who don't fall into that demographic? It apparently doesn't matter what you're watching. Tonight that might be the "Monday Night Football" game on ESPN between Atlanta and New Orleans. Or you could combine NFL and entertainment by catching ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," where the so-far underprepared Michael Irvin keeps getting judges' criticisms but lots of fan votes to keep him dancing. There's other stuff on too I imagine. But there's only so much channel-changing a person can handle.

And, yes, we are aware there is a Kings-Phoenix hockey game on Fox Sports West and a Clippers-Timberwolves game on Fox Sports Prime. But November in the NHL? And Clippers without Blake Griffin and the Wolves without Kevin Love? Even the sublime Clippers announcer Ralph Lawler can't make this game attractive considering the alternatives.

But it will be interesting to see the NFL ratings (on a cable channel) versus the World Series ratings (on over-the-air free television) tomorrow.

-- Diane Pucin

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