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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Nielsen: 2019 World Series on track to be least-watched ever

This year’s Houston Astros-Washington Nationals World Series is on track to be the least-watched in the history of the game, the Associated Press reported via Nielsen data on Tuesday.

The series has averaged 11.6 million viewers through the first five games, according to Nielsen. The current least-watched series was the San Francisco Giants’ sweep of the Detroit Tigers in 2012, which garnered an average of 12.64 million viewers.

An important note, however, is that at least one elimination game — which you might expect to bring higher viewership — is yet to come. Should the Astros clinch it in Game 6, however, it would need to draw approximately 18 million viewers to bring the series’ average over 2012’s average (or average about 15.5 million over the final two games).

[Steps back, waits for the arguments as for why to begin]

 

QLE Posted: October 30, 2019 at 12:19 AM | 51 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: broadcasting, ratings, world series

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: October 30, 2019 at 12:59 AM (#5896183)
To my knowledge, neither team has any sort of national following or history to attract the casual fan.

The games have generally not been close -- not sure how the viewer counts are calculated but certainly there's been little reason to hang in after the 6th-7th in most games and even less reason to tune in then.

The series started like it was gonna be over fast which is never good for ratings.

All that said it is now of course a close series -- if that doesn't help, that's really problematic. (It's probably too late not to finish last but I'd hope they see improved numbers for G6 and 7.) If I recall right, the G1 ratings were pretty low historically too which is a problem.
   2. Itchy Row Posted: October 30, 2019 at 01:19 AM (#5896190)
Now that the boob women are banned, there’s less reason to watch.
   3. Belfry Bob Posted: October 30, 2019 at 01:52 AM (#5896194)
I'm an Astros fan...and I quit watching live after Game 3. Too long, all the standing around. Baseball really has lost its way...I can't understand how they can't see how boring their game has become. Why would i emotionally invest in a series that is going to run past midnight almost every night? I'll just read about it in the morning and watch the highlights.
   4. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 30, 2019 at 02:15 AM (#5896196)
Those not watching are missing a good series. Their problem, not mine.
   5. Mr Dashwood Posted: October 30, 2019 at 07:52 AM (#5896203)
Those not watching are missing a good series.

Is this a good series? Most of the games have been pretty one-sided. What has been good is that both teams have come back from situations where one might well have written them off.

I was thinking it is kind of an antipode to another Houston Astros series, the 2005 one versus the White Sox. That was a sweep IIRC, but the games were all pretty close. Here, the games aren't close, but it has run to seven games.
   6. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: October 30, 2019 at 09:59 AM (#5896244)
It's surprising because you can spin a pretty good story to pitch this series. It's the Nationals' first WS after a tortured post-season run in the last several years. They've got a charismatic young star in Soto. Scherzer has 3 CYAs and has been one of the top pitchers of the decade. Houston has Altuve, a remarkable rotation, and a chance to create a dynasty, depending on your definition.

Plus, Washington and Houston are the numbers 6 and 7 TV markets in the U.S. Just imagine what the ratings would be if the series was Milwaukee versus Minnesota.
   7. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: October 30, 2019 at 10:21 AM (#5896275)
Yeah, the narratives are there. This should be a pretty popular series. Baseball has just gotten extremely hard to watch if you don't have a rooting interest.
   8. Lassus Posted: October 30, 2019 at 11:42 AM (#5896361)
Can someone please put Nielsen out of everyone's misery?
   9. Brian C Posted: October 30, 2019 at 11:55 AM (#5896376)
I'm an Astros fan...and I quit watching live after Game 3. Too long, all the standing around. Baseball really has lost its way...I can't understand how they can't see how boring their game has become. Why would i emotionally invest in a series that is going to run past midnight almost every night? I'll just read about it in the morning and watch the highlights.

I realize that it's in somewhat poor taste around here to accuse others of not being true fans ... but "being bored by my team in the World Series" really tests the limits for me of when someone can meaningfully call themselves a "fan".

That said, I will agree that these late-night games are really a problem MLB needs to address.
   10. Rally Posted: October 30, 2019 at 12:08 PM (#5896391)
Series is unique in that the vast majority of those watching in person go home disappointed. The guy who held onto his beers got tickets to the games in Houston, I’m sure he’s happy.
   11. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: October 30, 2019 at 12:11 PM (#5896395)
That said, I will agree that these late-night games are really a problem MLB needs to address.


I realize there is another long thread about this problem, but I really think it's the length of the games that's the problem, not the late ending times. Now, I tend to go to bed pretty early anymore (by 11 most nights), and I live in the Eastern time zone. Staying up to midnight is no big deal if it means watching the end of a game or movie I care about. That said, I'm lucky if I get home much before 6:30 on most nights. By the time I take care of any chores or chores and then cook and eat dinner, it's usually 7:30 or 8. I then give up the rest of my night to sitting in front of the TV and going to sleep at midnight if I want to catch all nine innings of these games. Yes, I can goof around on my computer during the games, but so what? I have to give up all of the leisure time in my day and go to bed late just to watch a nine inning game. It's unreasonable. Normally, I could tune in around 10pm and catch the later innings, but a few of these games have been decided relatively early. There hasn't been a lead change past the fifth inning yet.

I realize I sound like a grouch, but that's my frustration.
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 30, 2019 at 12:19 PM (#5896401)
This issue is simply that baseball is meant to be a 2:30 game. They always managed to do this pre-1990, and could do it again if they just enforced the damn pitch clock, and kept the batters in the box.

8:30 start, 11-11:30 PM finish, and everyone is happy. Hell, regular season Yankee games started at 8 PM in my youth, and I watched every game with my Dad, and we even went to night games sometimes. It was never an issue.

I mean 1978 World Series (which I attended as a 7 y.o.) game times: 2:48, 2:37. 2:27, 3:17, 2:56, 2:34.

Do that, and all the complaints vanish.
   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 30, 2019 at 12:20 PM (#5896403)

That said, I will agree that these late-night games are really a problem MLB needs to address.



Isn't it the same time as when the NCAA football championship and NBA finals begin?

The money keeps going up, so I have really stopped caring about this and I don't know why fans should care about it. Baseball is a niche sport, and most TV programming is niche now except for football and cop/medical/lawyer procedurals, and it is probably never going to go back to being what it was.
   14. The Run Fairy Posted: October 30, 2019 at 12:35 PM (#5896418)
Is this a good series?


The most popular story on Fangraphs is Why Has The World Series Felt Boring?, which pretty much tells the story. It's a mildly interesting series with the changes in momentum and the the improbable road team win streak, but the games themselves have mostly been duds.
   15. Belfry Bob Posted: October 30, 2019 at 01:34 PM (#5896451)
but "being bored by my team in the World Series" really tests the limits for me of when someone can meaningfully call themselves a "fan".


No offense taken. But when I know I'm going to fall asleep when the games crawl and crawl for nights in a row...when I watch Joe Ross take nearly a MINUTE between pitches...I do want the Astros to win, but it truly tries my patience in a way that doesn't feel good...it's like internally I'm saying 'just get the series over with so I can get back to normalcy.' Not a thought I'd ever expect me to have...I've already given up on 'non rooting interest NFL and NBA games...now even the teams I root for are looking less appealing, too. It's probably more frustrating because it could be so easily fixed.
   16. . Posted: October 30, 2019 at 01:37 PM (#5896456)
This issue is simply that baseball is meant to be a 2:30 game.


Yeah, not sure about that one. Baseball was a 2:30 game because of norms, not positive rules. Once the idea of analyzing the rules and trying to take advantage of them kicked in with the saber movement, the games quickly became way longer than 2:30. As the rules are written and interpreted, it's very much not a 2:30 game.
   17. Belfry Bob Posted: October 30, 2019 at 01:37 PM (#5896457)

Isn't it the same time as when the NCAA football championship and NBA finals begin?


The championship is ONE game, one night. I don't watch the NBA Finals unless I have a dog in the hunt, and yes, they have the same problem, except there's at least some dribbling going on most of the time instead of standing around.
   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 30, 2019 at 01:40 PM (#5896462)
Yeah, not sure about that one. Baseball was a 2:30 game because of norms, not positive rules. Once the idea of analyzing the rules and trying to take advantage of them kicked in with the saber movement, the games quickly became way longer than 2:30. As the rules are written and interpreted, it's very much not a 2:30 game.

No. The positive rules are being ignored. The pitcher is required to pitch within 12 seconds with no one on. The batter is required to stay in the box; the ump doesn't need to give him time out between pitches.

Enforce those two rules and we'd be very close to 2:30 game times.
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 30, 2019 at 01:41 PM (#5896463)
I don't watch the NBA Finals unless I have a dog in the hunt, and yes, they have the same problem, except there's at least some dribbling going on most of the time instead of standing around.

Except for the last 20 minutes, which is 18 minutes of time outs and fouls, and 2 minutes of real action.
   20. . Posted: October 30, 2019 at 01:42 PM (#5896464)
The pitcher is required to pitch within 12 seconds with no one on. The batter is required to stay in the box; the ump doesn't need to give him time out between pitches.


Those rules have never been enforced. Pitchers worked fast because of a norm; batters stayed in the box because of a norm. (Hitters didn't intentionally take hittable pitches other than on very rare occasions because of a norm, starting pitchers weren't taken out because of a pitch count because of norm, etc., etc.)

Yes, if those rules were enforced the game would speed up, but they've never been enforced. Enforcing them would be effectively a rule change and, yeah, to get to 2:30 games the rules have to be changed.
   21. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 30, 2019 at 01:46 PM (#5896467)
Those rules have never been enforced. Pitchers worked fast because of a norm; batters stayed in the box because of a norm.

i.e. they followed the rules. The rules didn't have to be enforced for the first 120 years of baseball, because everyone followed them. Now they do.
   22. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: October 30, 2019 at 01:48 PM (#5896468)
Except for the last 20 minutes, which is 18 minutes of time outs and fouls, and 2 minutes of real action.

If it's a close game.
   23. . Posted: October 30, 2019 at 01:49 PM (#5896471)
The rules didn't have to be enforced for the first 120 years of baseball, because everyone followed them.


They didn't follow them because they were rules. The norm happened to also be rule-abiding.(*) That was an accident.

(*) Most of the time. Pitchers in fact took more than 12 seconds to throw pitches sometimes even in 1978 and batters sometimes ventured out of the box in 1978. They were never called for rules violations when they did.
   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 30, 2019 at 01:53 PM (#5896475)
They didn't follow them because they were rules. The norm happened to also be rule-abiding.(*) That was an accident.

(*) Most of the time. Pitchers in fact took more than 12 seconds to throw pitches sometimes even in 1978 and batters sometimes ventured out of the box in 1978. They were never called for rules violations when they did.


I disagree. People at my office generally show up before 9 AM. There is also a rule about the work day. No one is penalizing anyone for showing up at 9:05 or 9:10 in violation the rule.

If everyone started showing up at 10 AM, you can be damn sure they'd enforce the rule with punishments.

This is the basic nature of rules. No one wants to enforce them, because that's costly. You only enforce them when they become a problem.
   25. Belfry Bob Posted: October 30, 2019 at 02:07 PM (#5896489)
Except for the last 20 minutes, which is 18 minutes of time outs and fouls, and 2 minutes of real action.


I liked the summer tourney i saw this summer that used the Elam Ending for the end of the game. Simply a GREAT idea, IMO.
   26. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 30, 2019 at 02:11 PM (#5896493)
I liked the summer tourney i saw this summer that used the Elam Ending for the end of the game. Simply a GREAT idea, IMO.

I think an interesting idea for basketball would just be first team to 100 wins.
   27. Booey Posted: October 30, 2019 at 02:42 PM (#5896534)
#26 - Why mess with the format of NBA games at all? They've already got a clock. Barring overtime, NBA games finish in the 2:15-2:30 range like clockwork.
   28. Stevey Posted: October 30, 2019 at 02:45 PM (#5896538)
This issue is simply that baseball is meant to be a 2:30 game.


Except for those first 50ish years where the game was played in under 2 hours.

Snapper's post is nothing more than a "everything was better when I was young".


Baseball was very specifically not given a clock, unlike the vast majority of sporting contests out there. It was never meant to be a 2:30, or 2:00, or whatever length of time you want, game. TV viewing may dictate that a 2:30ish length game keeps the attention of the greatest number of people, and maybe it should be the case that baseball should focus more on competing with Dancing With The Stars than letting the best baseball players in the world play as well as they can.
   29. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 30, 2019 at 02:46 PM (#5896541)
#26 - Why mess with the format of NBA games at all?
To make the last few minutes watchable.
   30. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 30, 2019 at 02:48 PM (#5896543)
It was never meant to be a 2:30, or 2:00, or whatever length of time you want, game.
It was certainly never meant to be a four-hour, minute-between-pitches slog with all sorts of entirely unnecessary dicking around. You would never design such a game if you were starting from scratch, because it wouldn't catch on.
   31. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 30, 2019 at 02:50 PM (#5896545)
Except for those first 50ish years where the game was played in under 2 hours.

You have to adjust for TV breaks post-1950.

Snapper's post is nothing more than a "everything was better when I was young".

No. My post is that more baseball action in less time is always better. If they could cram the same amount of action into 1:30, I'd like that better, even though I've never seen a game that short.

TV viewing may dictate that a 2:30ish length game keeps the attention of the greatest number of people, and maybe it should be the case that baseball should focus more on competing with Dancing With The Stars than letting the best baseball players in the world play as well as they can.

Of course they should focus on competing with Dancing with Stars, because that competition is about putting the most entertaining product on the field.

WTF cares if the players can play as well as they can? Playing baseball well has no value at all except that it entertains people. If they could play better with a five minute break between each pitch would you support that?

Boring sports is simply a waste of time.
   32. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: October 30, 2019 at 02:54 PM (#5896553)
Here's my question; why the #### should I care about the ratings? I realize the people who work in the game care greatly but from my standpoint it doesn't matter if a billion people or ten people watch. Is the game on TV somewhere I can watch it? Great, I'll enjoy it.
   33. Booey Posted: October 30, 2019 at 03:00 PM (#5896557)
#29 - That's only a problem in close games (which yes, should be the most exciting ones rather than the least). But it will create more problems than it's worth, IMO. It'll make some games significantly longer. Remember all those awful 80-75 games in the late 90's (think Knicks vs Heat)? Those would take 4 hours if they had to keep playing until someone hit 100. Other times you'd have the opposite, and the game would be over so soon that fans might feel ripped off (sometimes teams score 100 before the end of the 3rd quarter). Plus I think it would severely limit the amount of big individual performances that fans love. How many 40 and 50 pt outburts, triple doubles, etc would we see if the game stopped as soon as a team reached 100? A lot fewer than we do now, at the very least. To add excitement to the end of close games you'd be taking it away from other aspects of the game.

I guess there's some excitement to having a game winning shot in every game (the shot that gets the score to 100), but again, game winners are exciting specifically because they don't happen all the time. Too much of a good thing gets boring (see MLB, homeruns).
   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 30, 2019 at 03:07 PM (#5896561)
Here's my question; why the #### should I care about the ratings?

I only care because it reflects my opinion of the declining aesthetics of the game. The ratings are down partly because the game has gotten less entertaining. I'd like MLB to fix that, and hopefully declining ratings spur a fix.

I guess I'm actually rooting for low ratings in that sense.
   35. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 30, 2019 at 03:08 PM (#5896563)
I would favor the Elam ending over the "first to X."
   36. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 30, 2019 at 03:23 PM (#5896580)
I would favor the Elam ending over the "first to X."

The players kick 60 yard Field-Goals to decide the basketball game?
   37. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 30, 2019 at 03:24 PM (#5896581)
Jordan coulda done it for da Bullssss.
   38. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 30, 2019 at 03:38 PM (#5896591)
Baseball was very specifically not given a clock, unlike the vast majority of sporting contests out there.


At the time baseball was invented, there weren't a whole lot of other sports out there, so I don't know how you can say baseball was specifically not given a clock. When college football started, in 1869, it didn't have a clock, either - they played until ten scores had been achieved.

   39. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: October 30, 2019 at 03:41 PM (#5896593)
Baseball does have a clock. It's in the rulebook for when pitchers have to pitch. Just never gets enforced and with all the noise on pace of play why not is just so weird.
   40. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 30, 2019 at 03:48 PM (#5896600)
Just never gets enforced and with all the noise on pace of play why not is just so weird.
These things happen when you have an obstructionist players’ union and a commissioner who has no genitals.
   41. Greg Pope Posted: October 30, 2019 at 03:48 PM (#5896601)
I'd never heard of the Elam ending before, but now that I looked it up, I think it's a phenomenal idea.
   42. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: October 30, 2019 at 03:57 PM (#5896605)
Here's my question; why the #### should I care about the ratings? I realize the people who work in the game care greatly but from my standpoint it doesn't matter if a billion people or ten people watch.

If ten people watch, the game folds, and you don't have baseball to watch.
   43. spycake Posted: October 30, 2019 at 03:57 PM (#5896606)
Baseball was very specifically not given a clock, unlike the vast majority of sporting contests out there. It was never meant to be a 2:30, or 2:00, or whatever length of time you want, game.


Actually, the original baseball "clock" was the sun. I think average MLB game times expanding to the 2:30 zone was partially related to the shift to night baseball.

Which, as a reason, is a whole lot more understandable than adjusting batting gloves or walking around the mound between pitches. :)
   44. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: October 30, 2019 at 04:03 PM (#5896608)
I'd never heard of the Elam ending before, but now that I looked it up, I think it's a phenomenal idea.


Bah. I was sort of hoping that victory went to the team with a coach or player who most closely resembled Jack Elam.
   45. Booey Posted: October 30, 2019 at 04:23 PM (#5896617)
Huh. I'd never heard of the Elam ending either, but looking it up I think that's actually a really interesting idea that would eliminate all the concerns I mentioned in #33. I do think the number would have to be a
little higher than 7 for the NBA, though. Probably around 9 or 10 (since you're losing a 3rd of a quarter of clock time, the number should be set to a third of what NBA teams average in a quarter).
   46. The Run Fairy Posted: October 30, 2019 at 04:31 PM (#5896622)
Here's my question; why the #### should I care about the ratings? I realize the people who work in the game care greatly but from my standpoint it doesn't matter if a billion people or ten people watch. Is the game on TV somewhere I can watch it? Great, I'll enjoy it.


In theory worse ratings = less money per ad = more in-game advertisements, pitching change sponsorships, etc. as baseball looks to recoup their money. But I doubt it actually works that way.
   47. Belfry Bob Posted: October 30, 2019 at 04:41 PM (#5896629)
Huh. I'd never heard of the Elam ending either, but looking it up I think that's actually a really interesting idea that would eliminate all the concerns I mentioned in #33. I do think the number would have to be a
little higher than 7 for the NBA, though. Probably around 9 or 10 (since you're losing a 3rd of a quarter of clock time, the number should be set to a third of what NBA teams average in a quarter).


I imagine that's what they would do. It's interesting not only because it eliminates the fouling strategy and keeps the game moving, but there's all sort of additional strategy around both the clock stopping basket and the game ending, and there's a 'winning shot' in every game. I didn't find anything not to like, and the crowds really got into it. There's word the NCAA and NBA are 'looking into it', but it's probably years away.
   48. Belfry Bob Posted: October 30, 2019 at 04:42 PM (#5896630)

Bah. I was sort of hoping that victory went to the team with a coach or player who most closely resembled Jack Elam.

That WOULD eliminate the 'pretty boy' angle of coach hiring...
   49. Walt Davis Posted: October 30, 2019 at 06:15 PM (#5896663)
OK, I not only looked it up but I'll explain it for those who haven't yet ...

The Elam ending in basketball ... with the first stoppage at sub-4 minutes, the clock is turned off. A target point total is set at 7 points above the leading team's current total and first team to that target score wins. So if you lead by 10, you need to score 7 before they score 17. With the clock off, no need for all the funny business, just play killer defense. (Obviously you can make the target score 10 points out or whatever.)

1. Will it actually stop all the time-outs? The trailing team will still want to maximize points per possession and no reason to hold onto them.

1a. If it does reduce the time outs, won't they then use those time outs before getting to the 4-minute mark? (Fixed by a rule change)

2. Genuinely tactical fouling remains an option. If a crappy foul shooter touches the ball, hack him to limit them to one point; when the guy is shooting close to the basket, hack him to make him earn it at the line. I suppose there's really no rule that stops those (other than extra penalties added after a certain number of fouls). To be clear, I have no doubt this rule would reduce the foul-fest tremendously, I'm just not sure it gets rid of it entirely.

3. Essentially creates a sudden death scenario -- probably usually a lopsided one where it doesn't matter in the least. I find sudden death pretty cool but it is unfair in its way and many sports avoid it (including basketball) at least for a while.

4. No more OT classics in basketball -- I suppose there aren't that many anyway. Of course in theory, basketball joins baseball as a game that could last for eternity.

So probably not a big effect but, by getting rid of the possiblity of OT, teams have more incentives to "use" everything they've got rather than save something in the eventuality of OT. Probably not an issue in basketball. In baseball, imagine if they decided to allow ties such that all games finished after 9 innings. Not that managers are overly concerned with it, there'd be no incentive to save some pitchers in case you go to extra innings and we'd see even more relievers.
   50. spycake Posted: October 30, 2019 at 07:57 PM (#5896694)
Elam ending would mean no "buzzer beaters" to end the game (or send it to overtime)... except for shot clock buzzer beaters, I suppose.
   51. "RMc", the superbatsman Posted: October 31, 2019 at 07:34 AM (#5897258)
The pitcher is required to pitch within 12 seconds with no one on. The batter is required to stay in the box

1.) Get in the damn box.
2.) Throw the damn ball.
3.) Amen.

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