….with a series of commercials featuring Joe Buck. At least that the prognosis supplied by the Wall Street Journal’s Matthew Futterman, reporting earlier today that Major League Baseball’s Saturday afternoon telecasts on the Fox network have suffered a 4% rattings dip compared to the same period in 2008.
Fox Sports spokesman Lou D’Ermilio confirmed network executives will head to Milwaukee next week to strategize with Commissioner Bud Selig about reversing the downward trends. “The purpose of the meeting is to find a way to boost the ratings for the All-Star Game and the World Series,” he said. Plans include showing baseball movies on Sunday afternoons on Fox’s sister channel FX, and promotional ads with broadcasters Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. Fox says it is less concerned with the shrinking Saturday audience, since the regular season games represent about 10% of the value of the $255 million annual rights fee the network pays.
It would interesting to learn, for instance, how Fox’s Saturday numbers thur far in 2009 compared to ESPN’s Sunday night tally, or TBS’ Sunday afternoon results. The oft-cited Saturday blackout period no longer applies to MLB.TV’s online offerings so long as the games have a 1pm start. I doubt this is enough of a factor to contribute to a 4 percent drop in viewership for the late afternoon national TV game, but it makes as much sense as Futterman musing “additional revelations of steroid use certainly haven’t helped.”