Friday, November 2, 2018

World Series ratings on decline reminds us of Cubbie-blue ratings jolt of 2016

The World Series came to an end this week, and reportage repeatedly told of one fact – the Boston Red Sox/Los Angeles Dodgers matchup was a television ratings bust. Although most World Series of recent years have been disappointing – with one exception.
That was 2016, when on the night of two years ago Friday, the Chicago Cubs managed to prevail over the Cleveland Indians to win Chicago’s second baseball championship of this century – and their first in 108 seasons.
IN FACT, THE final game of that World Series had an average of 40 million viewers, with some 115 million people supposedly watching the series matchup at some point during the seven games.

Cubbie fans, of course, want to view this as some sort of sense of their superiority – as though the whole world was waiting for their victory. Which strikes me as being as ridiculous as that Super Bowl claim that people all over the world really care about the NFL championship game.

For the record, that 2016 World Series had an average of 12.9 percent of households watching the game, with 22 percent of television sets tuned in. By comparison, this year’s World Series had figures of 8.3 percent of households and 17 percent of households.
Of course, we could also compare it to 2005, when the White Sox managed to prevail in winning Chicago’s first World Series of the 21st Century. The one that Cubbie fans always like to downgrade as insignificant, if not meaningless and irrelevant.

IT HAD SOME 11.1 percent of households, and 19 percent of televisions tuned in on average for its games. Not that much of a difference from the ’16 experience, which had its broadcast ratings boosted by being a seven-game series, compared to the ’05 four-game sweep for the Sox.

Not that any of these numbers really matter. Because to the fans of the teams, they’re watching regardless, and the memory of that final out made them forget suburban Northbrook native Jason Kipnis' big home run for the Indians that could have been the knockout punch. Fans could care less what the fair-weather types think.
Just as I’m sure Boston fans this week are thinking the rest of the nation doesn’t know what they missed by not tuning in -- although we know they're crazed for throwing beer cans at the World Series trophy.

The World Series is over. Meaning that baseball for 2018 is finished. We’ll have to wait ‘til springtime. Which is when we’ll see for ourselves if the Las Vegas oddsmakers have any clue what they’re talking about.

FOR THE CUBS, they’re being given 10/1 odds of winning the 2019 World Series, while the White Sox are at 65/1 odds. Which actually puts them ahead of all the other teams in their division except for Cleveland (12/1 odds).
And one final thought. A comparison of statistics involving Chicago's two 21st Century World Series experiences. The Cubs' victory celebration of '16 supposedly attracted some 5 million fans, compared to 1.5 million for the White Sox' celebration of '05. None of whom felt compelled to throw anything at the World Series trophy, like they did in Boston.

Anybody who seriously believes either of those figures probably thinks the all-Chicago World Series will occur next season. A fantasy we in Chicago have waited more than a century to see for real.


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