MLB: Low playoff ratings trigger time change
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 19, 2009
By Ronald Blum
Associated PressNEW YORK ó For those dozing off by the fifth inning come October, help is on the way.
Following record-low ratings for last year’s World Series between Philadelphia and Tampa Bay, Major League Baseball and Fox are moving up the start times this year.
Weeknight games in the World Series and AL championship series will begin at 7:57 p.m. EDT, more than a half-hour before last year’s first-pitch times, Fox said.
The moves figures to give children a chance to watch more on school nights and should benefit adults who need to set an alarm clock for work.
“At least they’re moving in the right direction, I think,” Brewers closer Trevor Hoffman said. “I think the weird part is seeing young kids in the stands at 1 in the morning watching ballgames. Or if you’re at home watching on television you kind of want to not lose that younger generation because they’ve got to go to bed.”
The start of Saturday night games could be even earlier, and Sunday games will continue to begin following the conclusion of the network’s NFL coverage.
“Over the last few years, games have been ending a bit later than we’d like,” Fox Sports president Ed Goren said in a statement. “This new schedule, made possible through the cooperation of our stations, affiliates and Major League Baseball, should help fans of all ages see weeknight games from start to finish.”
Last year’s World Series had scheduled starts from 8:29 p.m. to 8:35 p.m. EDT. A rain-delayed Game 3 began at 10:06 p.m. and didn’t end until 1:47 a.m.