Fox Family, FSN Drive MLB Ratings

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Fox Family Channel's swing with the Major League Baseball playoffs connected with the Nielsens.

Fox Family, which carried eight American League and National League Division Series games, averaged a 2.3 household average with contests telecast from Oct.9 to Oct. 14, according to Nielsen Media Research Galaxy Explorer data. That represented an almost six-fold surge from the 0.4 average Fox Family posted with its Thursday-night package of regular-season games.

The playoff performance, though, was almost 21 percent lower than the 2.9 household average that ESPN registered for eight divisional series games in 2000.

Fox Family's average benefited from a pair of primetime playoff games between the Arizona Diamondbacks and St. Louis Cardinals on Oct. 9 and Oct. 12, which generated a 3.8 and 3.9, respectively. None of ESPN's playoff contests in 2000 aired in primetime.

The six daytime divisional series games averaged a 1.8 rating on Fox Family, according to Nielsen data.

The Fox Family numbers cap a successful regular-season and post-season campaign for Fox Sports, with baseball on the cable side. Collectively, 2001 ratings for local MLB telecasts on Fox Sports Net regional sports networks increased an average of 10 percent over the 2000 baseball campaign, according to an FSN analysis of Nielsen local market data.

The 17 FSN-branded regional sports channels and Madison Square Garden Network — which together televise 24 of MLB's 28 U.S.-based teams — averaged a 3.3 metered-market household rating, versus a 3.0 overall rating during the 2000 season.

The 10 percent jump was the largest year-to-year increase for FSN since ratings grew 11 percent in 1998 — the year in which Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa engaged in a home run chase that surpassed Roger Maris' long-held record.

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