After reading my recent post about World Series competitiveness, a friend of mine brought up the recent slide in World Series viewership. I thought it would be interesting to look into this, so I did; below are my findings.
As we can see, viewership has been on the decline for the past eleven years - aside from 2004 and 2009. 2004 and 2009 were years in which the Yankees and the Red Sox played in the World Series - inevitably providing a TV ratings boost - with 2004 being the year the Red Sox had a chance to break the Curse of the Bambino.
I went ahead and mapped the TV ratings onto the competitiveness chart that I put together for the previous post.
There seems to be no relationship between the competitiveness factor - total aLI - and TV ratings. For example, despite being the most competitive series of the past ten years, the Cardinals and Rangers series garnered the third-worst TV ratings in that span. Furthermore, a regression analysis of competitiveness factor on TV ratings yields a very low r-squared. This makes sense for a couple of reasons: (i) the competitiveness factor does not include compelling story lines, such as the 2004 Red Sox, and (ii) competitive series between two small or mid-market teams can be under-viewed when compared to the competitiveness factor, because of the smaller nature of their fan bases - on the flip side, a series between two large-market teams can be over-viewed when compared to the competitiveness factor.