July 11, 2012

The Sked: TUESDAY OFFICIAL RATINGS July 10: All-Star Game Kinda Doesn’t Suck

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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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FOX came in with a 3.2 Adult 18-49 rating for the MLB All-Star Game last night in the official nationals.  This was the lift we expected this morning from the fast nationals and proved to be enough to claim a rebound (albeit tiny) from an all-time low last year.  The news was not as good with viewers 2+, which came in at 10.9 million viewers 2+ watching during an average minute of the game (down from 11.0 million last year).  FOX points out that the two numbers are extremely close (a “razor thin [margin], just four hundredths of a ratings point”, as stated in the FOX press release).  OK, let’s be generous and say they are the same number.  You just tied the all-time low for the franchise — is that a great claim?

Knowing the news was not that good, the press release went immediately to smoke and mirrors in the age-old effort of spin.  The first number talked about in the press release was 27.7 million total viewers.  What are they talking about — a game back in the Ford administration?  No, they were taking to the last refuge of spin, the total reach or “cume” number.  Last night, 27.7 million people watched all or part of the game (for as little as a few minutes) .  If someone tuned in and found that horrific taped piece about Robinson Cano’s smile (set to Barry Manilow singing “Can’t Smile Without You”) and tuned out in disgust never to return to the game, they count in that 27.7 million figure.  But 27.7 million (and up over last year) sounds better than 10.9 million and really, really close to last year’s low.

Of course it was a lopsided game last night (8-0 victory for the NL, the first shut out since 1996, and the biggest victory margin since 1983’s 13-3 game).  In fact, All-Star Games are usually close games (1 or 2 run margins), decided late in the contest.  So next year’s rating will most likely be a much better barometer of baseball’s health with a more normal game.  But I’m not holding my breath for an uptick.  Holding steady might be the best this sport can do.

MLB ALL-STAR GAME Adult 18-49 Persons 2+
Rating millions
7.10.2012 FOX 3.2 10.9
7.12.2011 FOX 3.1 11.0
7.13.2010 FOX 3.8 12.1
7.14.2009 FOX 4.7 14.6
7.15.2008 FOX 4.5 14.5
7.10.2007 FOX 4.1 12.5
7.11.2006 FOX 4.6 14.4
7.12.2005 FOX 4.7 12.3
7.13.2004 FOX 5.0 13.9
7.15.2003 FOX 4.6 13.8 “This Time It Counts” begins
7.09.2002 FOX 5.2 14.7 Game ends in tie after 11 innings
7.10.2001 FOX 5.6 16.0
Multi-year Averages
2001-2011 FOX 4.5 13.6
1994-2000 NBC/FOX n/a 18.4
1990-1993 CBS 23.3
1976-1989 NBC/ABC 30.6 High of 36.3 in 1976 (ABC)
1972-1975 NBC 27.4

Reversing last year’s All-Star Game ratings defeat to America’s Got Talent, FOX did have enough last night to beat the official rating for NBC’s AGT (2.8 rating from 8-10 pm in what was, indeed, a two-hour original episode).  Last year, AGT did a terrific 4.0 from 9-11 pm on the same night.  And while NBC can claim AGT last night is up over last Tuesday’s poor episode rating (2.3), AGT had been over a 3 rating the three previous Tuesdays this summer when original episodes aired.  Clearly the show is sputtering.

About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.