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Will Barry, Roger and Derek Be Remembered?
NOVEMBER 4, 2002 — I grew up listening to baseball games on the radio. There is still no better way to enjoy a ball game and its nuances than a radio broadcast. Opportunities to watch a game on television were limited to weekends and the World Series, and I can't remember any friend who did not consider October to be synonymous with the Series. There is a lot written about baseball's declining ratings, and the loss of enthusiasm toward the post-season among younger audiences. As a baseball fan, I cannot resist weighing in on the subject as well. Why are so few young people watching the World Series today? As disappointed as I am that the Yankees did not appear in this year's World Series, I can't complain about the quality of the games or about the legitimate rights of San Francisco and Anaheim to be there. Whether or not we like Barry Bonds as a person is secondary to the fact that he is arguably the second greatest ball player of all time. (I'm not willing to accept that anyone will ever be better than Babe Ruth, and until Bonds becomes a great pitcher in addition to his other skills, he will not be in Ruth's league.) Seeing Bonds perform well in the post-season - reaching base 21 times out of 30 at-bats in the World Series - cancelled out all past criticism of Bonds as a poor post-season performer. The Anaheim Angels have been a hard-luck team known for lateseason collapses. They had to overcome an extraordinary winning streak by their divisional competitor, the

The shift to prime time has little to do with generating high ratings for ball games, and everything to do with providing the broadcast network with a weekly ratings win.
Oakland A's, defeat the Yankees in the post-season, and overcome a dominant home-run hitting team to become the unlikely 2002 World Champion. Time to Buy Disney Stock As a baseball fan, I'm naturally superstitious and believe that this Angels' victory is a positive omen for Disney, which must overcome its troubled past and forge a comeback in the TV ratings, at the amusement parks, and among investors. If you're a superstitious baseball fan, buy Disney stock. The Series competition was heated, and the sixth game Angels victory after being down 5-0 in the seventh inning, is a classic late inning comeback. Yet, the ratings performance for Fox-TV was the worst in baseball history, scoring only an 11.9 rating and 20 share over the seven game set. The 2000 Yankees/Mets series was the next lowest total, at 12.4/21 over five games, but seven-game series typically score

higher than five games as viewer interest and momentum increase for the final two games. Only 4 Percent of Teens Watched the Series It can be argued that the localism of an all-California series resulted in diminished interest. But a bigger culprit is the continuing insistence that World Series games start after 8 PM ET, and the longer average game length. A review of the demographics shows that the teen audience for regular season, World Series and playoff games is on a rapidly descending track. (See Magna Global chart.) Over the past five years, the World Series has averaged a 12.7 rating among adults 50+, and has been able to generate only an average 4.3 rating among teen audiences. Only 4 percent of teens are watching the World Series! That is astounding. When I was a kid, everyone watched the World Series. The games were in the daytime, and we ran home from school to catch the last few innings. Weekend games were also played during the day, and groups would gather around the TV to watch. Throughout the 1970s, ratings for the World Series averaged in the low 30s and high 20s. A 12 rating would have been incomprehensible. The shift to prime time has little to do with generat(Continued on page 2)

PAGE 3: JMR Data Magna Global's World Series Ratings Analysis

Network Major League Baseball Regular Season Rating Trends (FOX)
1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 HH 3.1 2.9 2.6 2.6 2.5 Men 18+ 2.3 2.1 2.0 2.0 2.1 Men 18-34 1.6 1.5 1.6 1.4 1.4 Men 18-49 1.7 1.5 1.6 1.5 1.5 Men 25-54 1.8 1.5 1.6 1.6 1.6 Men 50+ 3.6 3.3 2.8 3.0 3.0 Male 12-17 1.5 1.4 1.6 0.8 0.8 Teen 12-17 1.0 1.0 1.0 0.6 0.6 A 18-34 1.2 1.1 1.1 1.0 1.0 A 18-49 1.3 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1 A 25-54 1.3 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.2 A 50+ 2.8 2.5 2.2 2.3 2.3 A 35+ 2.1 1.9 1.7 1.8 1.8

Source: MAGNA Global USA analysis of copyrighted Nielsen Media Research data.

Page 2

November 4, 2002

Baseball
(Continued from page 1) ing high ratings for ball games, and everything to do with providing the broadcast network with a weekly ratings win. Even at an 11.9 rating, the World Series delivered Fox's first win this season in the Nielsen report. Would advertisers pay less for games scheduled during weekend days rather than in prime time? It's likely ratings would increase and prices would be commensurately greater. But Fox would lose the value of averaging the ratings into their primetime season numbers. What Can Be Done to Reverse Baseball's Ratings Slide? The problem for Fox, which has a five year contract with Major League Baseball, and an even greater problem for baseball, is that younger audiences are becoming more and more disinterested with the sport. They are not as familiar with the players, and unless there are events - such as Cal Ripken's countdown to the Iron Horse title or Barry Bonds' chase of a home run crown - that are catalysts for publicity and ratings, there is little reason to watch during the season or post season. I love the game of baseball. It is a sport that transcends generations, and that offers one of the very few unchanging continua in life. Baseball, for those who understand the nuances, is a sport with far greater dimension, depth and detail than any other. It is a team sport comprised of moments of individual heroism and failure. Its highs are higher and its depths are lower than any other sport. But the key words are "for those who understand the nuances." Casual viewers who tune in once a year for the World Series simply cannot enjoy the game as much as those who can appreciate the little moments. Why does a runner on base take off on a 3-2 count with two outs, and will he run on a 3-2 count with only one out? Why is everyone giving a high five to the batter who just grounded out to first base and moved a runner from second to third? Why do we care that Barry Bonds came into this year's post-season with a dismal performance history in his past post-season games and proceeded to slam a home run in his first World Series at bat? Why does a first baseman fielding a grounder throw to second to start a double play rather than stepping on first? And if he does step on first before throwing to second, why is the play at second so much more challenging? Why is a 1-0 pitchers' duel a great game? But for even those fans who appreciate the game's finer points, sitting through a televised baseball game can be agonizing. Most post-season games begin after 8 PM on the East Coast, and routinely do not end until after midnight. Joe DiMaggio once said he never played in a game longer than two hours. The accuracy of this statement may be questionable, but there's no question that today's ballgames are far longer than they ever have been. In DiMaggio's day, starting pitchers were expected to finish their games; today, it often takes five or more pitchers to pitch nine innings. This increased specialization and multiple pitching changes

Baseball, for those who understand the nuances, is a sport with far greater dimension, depth and detail than any other.
account for much of the problem, and this factor is magnified in high-scoring games such as in this year's World Series. But when batters step out of the batter's box after every pitch, and pitchers step off the mound and consult with their catchers several times during an inning, the broadcast can become nearly unbearable for viewers. Articles and columns appear every year bemoaning baseball's declining television audiences, even as attendance continues to reach all-time highs. Baseball continues to be a great sport, longer games or not. Selig Justifies But Cannot Solve Baseball's Problems At last week's ESPN/ABC Sports Upfront at Avery Fisher Hall, Commissioner Bud Selig pointed out that more young people are playing baseball than ever before. But television is failing in its responsibility to develop an educated base of viewers. The challenge for Major League Baseball and for TV networks is to bring more games to young viewers with a tutorial on how to enjoy watching the game. There should be at least one World Series game played on a Saturday afternoon. Announcers need to do a better job of educating viewers on the nuances that make the game more interesting. The leagues and the networks should develop formats, such as those being delivered online, that shrink the game down to its key actions and provide compressed versions of the most important games of the day, including the small actions that impact on the outcome. Highlights of the action on ESPN's Baseball Tonight and This Week in Baseball are not sufficient. World Series viewing levels appear irreversible. They can never revert to their 1970s levels. Unless teen audiences and 18-24 audiences grow, the future value of the sport will be reduced, the economics will begin to reverse, and the game will begin an irreversible decline. There are solutions, but baseball and the TV networks are doing very little to seek them out and implement them. A Pitch, Hit and Run contest for kids is not the solution. MLB and Fox need to be less concerned about developing kids to play the game and fans who go to the ballpark. They need to be concerned about developing a new generation of viewers who love to watch the game on TV, listen to it on the radio, and who will share the joy of the sport with their children and grandchildren. Will there be a generation which passes on the stories of watching Barry Bonds and Mark McGuire and Roger Clemens and Derek Jeter the way past generations have talked about Babe, Lou, Mickey, Whitey, Willie, Sandy, Jackie, and Hank?
jack@jackmyers.com

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November 4, 2002

JMR Data
Magna Global's World Series Ratings Analysis
Magna Global, the media buying combine of Interpublic Group, has published a detailed research analysis of Major League Baseball ratings performance. JMR is reprinting Magna's report on World Series ratings.

By Steve Sternberg, Magna Global (ssternberg@magnaglobal.com) The 2002 storybook season of the Anaheim Angels (owned by Disney), continued in magical fashion throughout the playoffs. The Angels lost the opening game of each round of the post-season, yet came back to win. Behind three games to two, with San Francisco leading 50 in the seventh inning of Game 6, the Angels mounted a comeback unequalled by a team facing elimination in the World Series, to win the game 6-5. Despite Barry Bonds,

arguably among the best players ever, having an unworldly Series, reaching base 21 of 30 plate appearances (13 walks!), and smashing four homeruns, the Angels were not to be denied, demonstrating that baseball is indeed a team sport. But viewers didn't seem to notice, as ratings sunk to an all-time low, despite one of the most exciting Series ever, with the Anaheim Angels beating the San Francisco Giants in seven games.Following is a ranking of all World Series since 1971.

World Series Ranking (1971 - 2002)
YEAR 1980 1978 1973 1981 1977 1975 1986 1979 1982 1972 1976 1974 1985 1971 1991 1987 1988 1983 1984 1990 1992 1995 1996 1993 1997 1989 1999 2001 1998 2000 2002 AMERICAN VS. NATIONAL Kansas City vs. Philadelphia* New York* vs. Los Angeles Oakland* vs. New York New York vs. Los Angeles* New York* vs. Los Angeles Boston vs. Cincinnati* Boston vs. New York* Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh* Milwaukee vs. St. Louis* Oakland* vs. Cincinnati New York vs. Cincinnati* Oakland* vs. Los Angeles Kansas City* vs. St. Louis Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh* Minnesota* vs. Atlanta Minnesota* vs. St. Louis Oakland vs. Los Angeles* Baltimore* vs. Philadelphia Detroit* vs. San Diego Oakland vs. Cincinnati* Toronto* vs. Atlanta Cleveland vs. Atlanta* New York* vs. Atlanta Toronto* vs. Philadelphia Cleveland vs. Florida* Oakland* vs. San Francisco New York* vs. Atlanta New York vs. Arizona* New York* vs. San Diego New York Yankees* vs. New York Mets Anaheim* vs. San Francisco HH RATING/SHARE 32.8/56 32.8/46 30.7/57 30.0/49 29.8/53 28.7/52 28.6/45 28.5/50 28.2/49 27.6/58 27.5/48 25.6/46 25.3/39 24.1/58 24.0/39 23.9/41 23.7/39 23.3/41 22.9/40 20.8/36 20.2/34 19.5/33 17.4/29 17.3/30 16.7/29 16.4/29 16.0/26 15.7/26 14.1/23 12.4/21 11.9/20 # OF GAMES 6 7 7 6 6 7 7 7 7 7 4 5 7 7 7 7 5 5 5 4 6 6 6 6 7 4 4 7 4 5 7

* Winner Source: MAGNA Global USA analysis of copyrighted Nielsen Media Research data.