Monday, November 2, 2009

Most World Series Championships

The question of the most popular sport on television has been long answered, but football put an exclamation point on it Sunday when a regular season N.F.L. game was far more watched than Game 4 of the World Series.

Both events had huge audiences, but the game between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings, featuring the return of Brett Favre to Green Bay, was watched by an average of 29.8 million viewers — considerably more than the 22.3 million viewers who turned up for the Yankees’ win over the Phillies in the World Series.

Football showed its true power in the prime-time portion that ran after 7 p.m. That part of the game drew 39 million viewers, a figure on par with most playoff games.

The Fox network had coverage of both events, with postgame football shows in between. With an average of 23.3 million viewers for the four hours form 7 to 11 p.m., Fox scored the biggest night for network television since the Academy Awards show in February, which pulled an average of 36.3 million viewers.

The game was the second most-watched Sunday game on Fox ever (only a 1995 game between the Cowboys and 49ers was more watched).

Baseball could not really compete, even though interest in this year’s World Series is way up. This was the most-watched Game 4 since 2004, when the Red Sox completed their sweep of the Cardinals and broke their long drought of championships. That was watched by 28.8 million viewers.

It was the most watched Game 4 that did not end a World Series since 2001, when the Yankees played the Diamondbacks, was seen by 23.7 million viewers.