Mr. November does not have the same ring about it as Mr. October, which is Reggie Jackson’s World Series nickname. But in terms of the sports industry, playing the World Series in November makes sense or is it cents financially for Major League Baseball’s partner, Rupert Murdoch’s FOX delivery service.
You see November is ratings sweeps month, which was invented by Nielsen in 1954 and is probably very outdated in this day and age. This is the mechanism for local stations to set ads rates based on Nielsen numbers for, in this case, December, January and February shows.
The actual November 2016 sweeps started on October 29, which means Major League Baseball’s World Series gave FOX affiliates three games, October 29, 30 and November 1 and more than likely when all the numbers are in, three winning nights of ratings for FOX affiliates. The sweeps end November 26 so FOX will have at least three wins.
In the United States, the four major sports, baseball, football, basketball and hockey have adjusted the crown jewel events to the television calendar.
When Don Larsen pitched his perfect game in the 1956 World Series, it was on October 8 and it was the fifth game of the championship series. That seven-game series ended on October 10. The Super Bowl, the National Football League’s signature event takes place in February as part of the February rating sweeps. But the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League don’t draw the big, big numbers so the championship events take place in June, after the May sweeps.
This year’s World Series is bringing in good numbers and much of that has to do with the Chicago market, which is among the best TV sports markets in the US and the city’s popular baseball team, the Cubs, is involved. November baseball is now a staple on the sports calendar because it makes cents.
By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.