2012 World Series: Giants Win, Fox Loses

The 2012 San Francisco Giants celebrate their second championship in three years Sunday night.

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants, who defeated the Detroit Tigers last night to win the 2012 World Series, their second championship in three years. The Giants dominated the series, outhitting the Tigers 32-20 and limiting Detroit to just six runs in four games. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval was named the Series’ Most Valuable Player, hitting .500 for the Series with 3 home runs.

That being said, the 2012 edition of the Fall Classic was not great for business. As great as fan bases are in Detroit and San Francisco, neither city is a major media market, and the absence of the New York Yankees cost Fox Sports millions of dollars in potential advertising revenue. The first two games earned Fox a 7.7 rating, the lowest two game stretch in World Series history. Fans like to see an exciting, close Series, as evidenced by last year’s World Series ratings (12.7 for Game 6 and 14.7 for Game 7). Even though Fox charged more than $400,000 for a 30-second ad during the World Series, the low ratings of the Series could prevent sponsors from advertising during the Fall Classic in the future.

Ticket revenues were also crippled by the short Series. Both San Francisco’s AT&T Park and Detroit’s Comerica Park were filled to capacity for four games, with ticket prices ranging from $100 to more than $1,000 per seat. However, if the Series eventually went seven games, the two teams would have earned an estimated $30 million in extra ticket revenues, not to mention extra parking, food, and merchandise revenue.

The players will also think twice about the Series when they get their bonus paychecks. The players’ annual postseason bonus fund is determined by ticket revenues, of which players get about 60%. Last year, when the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Detroit Tigers in an exciting seven-game World Series, Cardinals players earned about $320,000, while Rangers players banked more than $250,000 a piece. The players in the 2012 World Series won’t earn nearly that much, but then again, it’s not like they need much more money.

The 2012 World Series is a textbook example of how media markets play a role in the world of sports. When you combine “mid-major” media markets, a short series, and poor TV ratings, profits drop. Until next fall, Fox Sports executives and MLB officials will have to hope for large market teams to make the Fall Classic again.

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