Why Fox Has a Rooting Interest in This Weekend’s Baseball

A World Series pitting the second biggest market against the seventh sounds a heck of a lot better than 11 vs. 21

While the network will never admit it, Fox has a real rooting interest in this weekend’s baseball games — or at least it should.

With the Boston Red Sox leading the Detroit Tigers three games to two in the American League Championship Series and the St. Louis Cardinals leading the Los Angeles Dodgers by the same measure, the World Series is a mere one to two games away from having its representative in each league.

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And much like fans, networks have their team preferences — but the only color they bleed is green. And why not? There is quite a bit at stake for Fox, which owns the World Series broadcast rights.

Los Angeles is the second biggest television market in the United States, Boston is the seventh: Therein lies Fox’s ideal match-up. At 11, Detroit is not bad, but St. Louis is 21st. That’s also not a tiny market, but surely it wouldn’t be any good TV businessperson’s first choice.

However, market size is just one factor in household ratings, and therefore, ad dollars.

“More important, is the length of the series,” an industry insider told TheWrap. “More games [equals] more commercials.”

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So what should Fox be pulling for this weekend? A Dodgers win Friday night, forcing a Game 7. Then a second and final weekend L.A. victory, following a clinching Red Sox win Saturday afternoon (on Fox).

Finally, a seven-game World Series would be key. That sounds pretty good for everybody — except for Tigers and Cardinals fans. Sorry guys.

The Dodgers play the Cardinals tonight at 8:30, Boston plays Detroit tomorrow at 4:30. No matter the teams, the World Series begins Oct. 23 on Fox.