The 2012 World Series proved to be a ratings bust for Fox. According to Nielsen Media Research, the San Francisco Giants’ four-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers garnered a record low viewership average.
Prior to this, the previous World Series ratings lows occurred in 2008 (Philadelphia Phillies vs. Tampa Bay Rays) and 2010 (San Francisco Giants vs. Texas Rangers), with both earning 8.4 averages over five-game spans. This time around, Giants vs. Tigers earned a 7.6.
For what it’s worth: 2011’s showdown between the St. Louis Cardinals and Rangers (which, in fairness, went seven games) earned a 10.0.
Predictably, the network is putting a positive spin on these disappointing numbers.
"The World Series has been a top-10 prime-time hit for over 40 years and even with a four-game sweep this series was no exception," said Michael Mulvihill, Fox Sports Media Group's senior vice president of programming and research (via ESPN).
"This World Series gave us exactly what we expected: a top-10 show among all viewers and a top-five show among hard-to-reach younger men. It's important for us to remain focused on the Series relative to today's competitive environment rather than bygone years."
After both the AL and NL each hosted a pair of really thrilling divisional series showdowns, the excitement noticeably petered off as the postseason progressed. There was interest in the New York Yankees’ flameout and the Giants’ comeback against the Cardinals – but nothing reminiscent of what we saw in the first round.
San Francisco being part of the two lowest rated World Series on record is no coincidence, by the way. The MLB better hope that Magic Johnson and his Los Angeles Dodgers get their you-know-what together next year, or else we may see an encore of this in 2013.