The baseball season ended too soon for Cubs fans and Turner Broadcasting.
With big-market, high-profile teams like the New York Mets, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals in the playoffs, ratings ran at record levels for Turner.
Unfortunately, there just weren’t enough games for Turner to really cash in. The Cubs beat the Cardinals in four games, one over the minimum, and the Mets ousted the Dodgers in five games during the National League Division Series.
Then the Mets swept the Cubs in the N.L. Championship Series, which hurt because the rule of thumb in the sports business is you start to make money in Game 5. Think of all the spots that were sold but will never run because Games 5, 6 and 7 weren’t necessary.
Longer series also tend to have higher ratings as the drama builds. The Mets left little room for drama.
The news is also bittersweet for Fox, which airs the World Series. The big market Mets will play either the small-market Kansas City Royals or the Toronto Blue Jays, whose home fans aren’t included in the ratings. But the Cubs, looking to break a 100-year-old championship drought with a ivy-covered history littered with goats and curses, would have been the better story nationally and brought in more last minute dollars from sponsors.
Armed with higher ratings, Turner will probably be able to raise ad prices for post season baseball. But, like Cubs fans, it will have to wait till next year.
Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.
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