Fox has broadcast nine of the last 10 World Series matchups and, thanks to the Boston Red Sox sweep of the Colorado Rockies last night, Fox has now broadcast four sweeps in that period of time (40 percent chance of sweep).
It's an amazing statistic when you consider that from 1903 to 1997 (a span of 94 World Series), there were 15 sweeps total. That means that the odds of having a World Series sweep was roughly 16 percent.
So how much did Fox lose this year thanks to the Red Sox? Well, it's clearly not good business to have a quick series. If you look at ratings data, you'll see that ratings typically steadily increase as the series gets longer and Game 7 usually sees a huge jump.
This is what we know so far. Both Games 1 and 2 drew about 17 million fans. That equals a pretty good Game 1, but an average Game 2 because as I said before, audience is supposed to build. One thing that certainly didn't help was the 13-1 Game 1 blowout, which could have turned off casual fans.
As we wait for the rest of the ratings data today, I haven't heard too much about what a financial disaster this will be. My sources tell me that although it only went four games that Fox actually ran five games worth of commercials.
And the only analyst who I've seen comment on it is Pali Capital's Rich Greenfield who said that a healthy ALCS gave Fox some wiggle room. Greenfield also noted that he believes that Fox will get a rebate from Major League Baseball for the sweep. My Fox and baseball sources have yet to confirm if that is the actual case.
UPDATE: The report that said the league automatically compensated Fox for a sweep is not true. There is a provision that provides that baseball would pay back Fox but it is based on the number of games played over the life of the seven-year contract. This is the first year of the contract.
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