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World Series TV ratings up on Wednesday, down overall

October 30, 2008 |  4:25 pm

Carlos Ruiz of the Philadelphia Phillies screams in celebration. Ratings for the World Series this year aren't as complicated as the infield fly rule, but thanks to the bifurcated nature of Game 5 -- in which the Phillies won their second Series in franchise history by beating the Rays 4-3 -- it takes a bit of explaining.

Wednesday night's broadcast of Game 5's conclusion drew 19.8 million viewers with an 11.9 rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. Monday night's broadcast of the first-ever suspended World Series game drew 13.2 million viewers and generated an 8.2 rating.

When stitched together by Nielsen Media Research the two halves of the game produced a nine-inning rating of 9.6 and drew 15.8 million viewers. Good enough to make Game 5 the highest-rated and most-watched of the 2008 broadcasts.

But, as Fox noted, Game 5 rating was 17% lower in ratings and drew a 14% smaller audience than the last Game 5 to decide a Series -- the 2006 game broadcast in which the Cardinals beat the Tigers. That broadcast generated a 10.3 rating and drew 16.3 million viewers.

"The rain delay on Saturday and suspended game on Monday, combined with going only five games, obviously worked against the Series reaching its maximum viewership potential," said Fox Sports President Ed Goren. "But even with that, Fox was No. 1 most nights, posted some of its best nights in many weeks and was No. 1 last week in prime time.”

The 2008 World Series averaged an 8.4 rating nationally and attracted, on average, 13.6 million viewers. That makes it the lowest-rated World Series on record, according to Nielsen Media Research data. For comparison sake, last year's Fox broadcasts of the four-game sweep of the Rockies by the Red Sox generated a 10.6 average rating and drew 17.1 million viewers.

-- Greg Johnson

Photo: Carlos Ruiz of the Philadelphia Phillies screams in celebration. Credit: Brad Mangin / MLB via Getty Images