Is MLB Happy With A Rangers vs Giants World Series?

Major League Baseball has missed out on a huge opportunity and a financial one at that. Before the Championship series started it looked like MLB advertisers, promoters and partners would get another hugely watched World Series. The Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees were both playing and favored to make it to the World Series. Neither team ended up winning and now the World Series matchup doesn’t look so enticing. Sure, the Giants and Rangers are nice stories, but nice stories don’t always make you the most money. And lets be honest here, MLB is a business just like any other business. They’re out to make money and make as much of it as possible. Its how they survive. Its how all businesses survive.

Many of you are probably saying “Its about the game, not the money.” and I wish that was true. But if that was the truth, then you wouldn’t have $10 hot dogs, $12 sodas and $500 nose bleed seats at the World Series.

Baseball was probably more then thrilled when it seemed just like last year that two of the largest baseball markets would have a team representing them, New York and Philadelphia. Both cities have won a championship in the last two years and it seemed as if they would be facing off again for the 2nd time in a row. Last year’s meeting between the Yankees and Phillies was the most watched World Series since 2004. That was the year the Red Sox made their miracle run. But now Bud Selig is stuck with the Giants vs the Rangers and I bet he isn’t very happy about it.

Bud Selig

Looking at past television ratings it’s very obvious that more people watch the World Series when two large baseball cities play each other. Take into account that MLB almost had two of the largest jersey selling teams and it stings even more.

MLB could have had their choice of 5-10 big time veteran players to promote. Now they got Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum. They’re both great players, but after they pitch in Game 1, what’s the big draw then?

Bud Selig is praying this series goes 7 games. That way the extra games can help offset the lower ratings. I can see Bud Selig screaming “Damn You Giradi!” as soon the Yankees made their final out against the Rangers.

[update 10/28/2010]

As expected tv ratings for Game 1 of the 2010 World Series were not good.
– from

The network scored a 10.4 rating and 17 share in Nielsen overnight ratings of the nation’s top markets for Wednesday’s San Francisco-Texas Game 1, down 25 percent from the 13.8/22 pulled in 2009 for the Philadelphia-New York Yankees Game 1. The network points out that the 2010 numbers are up a percent from the 10.3/17 for the Phillies-Tampa Bay opener in 2008.

[update 10/30/2010]

For those thinking that having the World Series outside of New York and Phildelphia would “boost ratings”. You were wrong and ratings have continued to be poor as we predicted. – from ESPN

The San Francisco Giants’ 9-0 rout of the Texas Rangers earned the second-lowest television rating for a World Series Game 2, with more then one-quarter the audience disappearing from last year.
The Giants’ win Thursday night, which gave them a 2-0 World Series lead, got an 8.5 rating and was seen by 14.13 million people, Nielsen Media Research said Friday.

– Jacob –


10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Professor B on October 25, 2010 at 9:06 am

    Screw the Phillies, and screw the Yankees. One of the reasons I’m not all that interested in MLB is the frequent repetition of the same winners and losers. If you’re not a Yankee fan, it becomes rather humdrum to watch them win every third World Series. Meanwhile, you can count on Milwaukee, Kansas City, Pittsburg, Baltimore, and Cleveland being out of it before the season even starts. The good teams are good because they buy up all the best players, and the bad teams seem content to stay bad or get even get worse. Dissimilarly, in the NFL, one season is often the difference between a playoff team and one of the worst records in the league. It’s far more exciting this way. Judging by the high (and growing) ratings of the NFL, and the low (and declining) ratings of MLB, I’m not the only one who thinks this. Major League Baseball can benefit from some increased dispersal of post season play. I’m one sports fan that will be watching the World Series this year, whereas had it been Yankees vs. Phillies, I would just be catching the highlights on Sportscenter.


    • “I’m not all that interested in MLB is the frequent repetition of the same winners and losers.”
      “Major League Baseball can benefit from some increased dispersal of post season play.”

      Your theory is a little off.
      MLB has had 9 different World Series Champions since 2000.
      NFL has had 8 different Super Bowl Champions since 2000.

      MLB has had 15 different teams play in the World Series since 2000.
      NFL has had 15 different teams play in the Super Bowl since 2000.

      So now are you gonna watch the World Series?


      • Posted by Professor B on October 25, 2010 at 10:37 am

        Yeah, yeah, yeah, I acknowledge what you’re saying is true, but you have to admit that it’s far easier to pick who will be “pretty good” and who will be “pretty bad” in MLB. It’s very difficult to predetermine who will be good in the NFL…. current examples 49ers, Cowboys, and Vikings. Likewise, The success of Tampa Bay and Kansas City has taken most by surprise. As for predicting the NFL’s bad teams…. it’s a little easier (you can always count on Detroit), but who thought that the others mentioned above would be (almost) equally as bad?

        And, yes, I will be watching the WS this year. Wednesday will be my first baseball game of the season (well, watched on TV that is).


        • Posted by Warzecha on October 25, 2010 at 11:10 am

          I agree with PB. I think some out-of-market fans will be more drawn to this World Series than normal because of the new cast of characters. Additionally, ANY true baseball fan, regardless of where their allegiance lies will treat Lee-Lincecum in Games 1 & 5 as must-see TV.

          Also, the MLB is going to benefit from a major spike in baseball passion in the DFW area, which is the 2nd most populated metropolitan area in the country when you take into account the entire metroplex. These new or “renewed” fans will be hooked on MLB and the Rangers for years to come, and that will only help Selig in the long run.


        • “it’s far easier to pick who will be “pretty good” and who will be “pretty bad” in MLB”
          – I agree with that, but its not what you said originally, Professor 🙂


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  3. Posted by Nick on October 25, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Baseball will get bandwagonners who look for any excuse to drink and eat more. Overall baseball is dying as a national sport because it’s slow and boring. This isn’t an indictment on the game it’s just that baseball was exciting when it took two weeks to mail a letter across the country, but now with instantness and less of a lag in every single thing that we do, our sensabilities have changed and a slow prodding game is not as much of a draw.


    • Excellent point. We need instant gratification and entertainment now days. Baseball is a reactive sport, not proactive. People are drawn to football because there is so much going on on one play. Baseball typically involves three players at most during a play.


  4. Posted by Walt on October 25, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    I would agree that this World Series will be benefit baseball more in the long run than if Phillies and Yankees played again. We just saw that movie last year. It’s not like DFW is exactly a small market and the Giants have packed their stadium so far this postseason. Phillies and Yankees fans aren’t going anywhere and so I think it is good for the game to have a series like this every so often so fans can be exposed to other markets and fans in DFW and the Bay Area can be rejuvenated (though I think we can all agree that every world series would be better if the Cardinals were playing.) These are the two teams I wanted to win the LCS’s and I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out.


  5. Happy to see both the Phillies and (especially) the Yankees go home. I agree that a change of names this WS will increase ratings. Either way – Go Rangers!


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