Not to say that the matchup wasn't an exciting one to committed baseball fans, as the Rangers and the Giants are not only talented, but deserving of the World Series appearance. Viewership, however, has tanked considering the smaller television markets of both San Francisco and Dallas.
The World Series opener, aka the pitching duel between two of the game's best drew in just 15 million viewers, a staggering 25 percent lower than Game 1 of the 2009 World Series between the Yankees and the Phillies.
While the small television markets (#7 and #12 on the Nielsen scale) are partly to blame for the low ratings, it doesn't help when there are scheduling conflicts with the NFL. Baseball may be the original national pastime, but football has two things baseball doesn't according to FoxSports commentator Ken Rosenthal, "violence and gambling."
As proof that football is the new national pastime, Nielsen reported that the 'Sunday Night Football' matchup between the New Orleans Saints and the Pittsburgh Steelers brought 2.6 million more viewers than Game 4 of the World Series. According to the report, it was the first time an NFL game has brought in more viewers than the World Series.
Then again, the two events are rarely scheduled at the same time.
The World Series has competed against the NFL on just nine different occasions since 1991, with one instance coming on a Monday night in 1996. That year, Game 2 of the Yankees-Braves series pulled a 14.0 on the Nielsen scale, while the Raiders-Chargers earned a 12.0 during Monday Night Football.
The two leagues will enter a similar conflict on Monday night. As the Indianapolis Colts battle the Houston Texans for the second time this season, Cy Young candidates Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee square off in what could be the deciding game in Texas. Despite the implications riding on Game 5, it's likely that the NFL will take the ratings' crown again.
The absolute power of the NFL has spoken, and unless next year's World Series is between the Cubs and the Red Sox, the MLB should start writing up a new schedule.
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