What is more popular viewing in Buffalo, the major league All-Star game or the Women’s World Cup final?
Both were carried in the last nine days by WUTV, the local Fox affiliate.
And it was no contest.
Soccer won big time.
The United States' 5-2 championship victory over Japan in the Women’s World Cup final had a 12.1 rating on Sunday, July 5 on WUTV (more commonly known as Channel 29 even though it is now on cable channel 6).
The American League’s 6-3 victory over the National League Tuesday night averaged about a 5.0 rating on Channel 29, which was down from a 5.7 here a year ago.
The rating from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday was a 4.8. That included the 30-minute pregame show, which had the highlight of the night when legends Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Sandy Koufax and Willie Mays were introduced. The actual game started with a 6.0 rating at 8:30 p.m. and ended with a 2.6 rating about three hours later.
I remember the day the All-Star game was must-see TV. But heck, I also remember being a young boy watching Koufax and Don Drysdale pitch both ends of a doubleheader. In Brooklyn.
Those days are long gone, which eventually led baseball to make the All-Star game somewhat meaningful by giving the winning league the home-field advantage in the World Series.
That bonus didn’t juice the rating here.
Many viewers here abandoned the game after 11 p.m. The game had a 3.6 rating at 11 p.m. and a 2.6 rating at 11:15 p.m. when the final inning was played.
The All-Star game finished third locally in prime time competing against summer shows and repeats carried by NBC and CBS.
NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” was a big winner for two hours, averaging a 9.6 rating on Channel 2. Even “Hollywood Game Night,” which followed it, beat baseball with a 6.0 rating from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.
A rerun of CBS’ extremely popular “NCIS” beat baseball with a 7.2 rating. The scary new CBS series “Zoo,” in which animals are attacking humans, had a winning 5.8 rating at 9 p.m.
Of course, comparing the more meaningful World Cup game with the All-Star game isn’t really fair considering the stakes.
It also was the most watched soccer game in United States history. To put the 12.1 rating in more perspective, it was one point lower than the rating here for Duke's victory over Wisconsin in the NCAA men's basketball final in April.
The World Cup rating undoubtedly was fueled by patriotism, which gave soccer an advantage.
It had another advantage over baseball in that soccer games are played in about two hours, while the All-Star game took more than three hours.
The 7 p.m. local start time for the soccer game also might have been an advantage since viewers knew the game would end at a reasonable time.
The baseball game ended at 11:34 p.m., about 20 minutes before Fox signed off its post-game show.
In case you missed a late update to Tuesday’s blog, WNED has announced that it will air the new PBS production of “Driving Miss Daisy” at 8 p.m. Aug. 21 and repeat it at 12 a.m. Aug. 25. It airs nationally on Friday but WNED is carrying the old Woody Allen film “Annie Hall” instead.