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WUTV gets attractive World Series, even without the Yankees

If anyone feels worse than a New York Yankees fan about the Game 7 loss to the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series Saturday night, it has to be a Fox TV executive.

Unlike Yankee teams of the past, this young squad led by Aaron Judge was likable.

Like Yankee teams of the past, it also had the ratings power of the New York market behind them.

Houston in the World Series? Smaller market, smaller name recognition. I bet even some casual baseball fans still think the Astros are in the National League.

Fox would have loved a New York-Los Angeles Dodgers World Series, but it gets a Houston-L.A. consolation prize starting at 8 tonight on the main Fox network (WUTV, Channel 29 in Buffalo) that still is eagerly anticipated by baseball fans.

Houston's 4-0 win over the Yankees had a 6.7 local rating on cable's Fox Sports 1 Saturday night while a mismatch college football game was played on the main network.

That is a very high rating for FS1 here, which illustrates Western New Yorkers have finally found the channel. One of the reasons the game was carried on FS1 instead of Fox was to get more people aware of the location of the cable channel.

How popular are the Yankees in Western New York?

The rating for the game was even higher locally than the rating for the Buffalo Sabres' 5-4 come-from-behind victory over Boston on MSG Saturday night. The Sabres second victory of the season had a local rating of 4.9 on MSG. The loss to Vancouver Friday night had a 5.7 rating.

Tonight's Game 1 of the World Series has the misfortune of being played opposite a Sabres game with Detroit on NBCSN, which certainly will eat into its audience.

In addition, the Series is being played opposite WNY's most popular entertainment series – NBC's "This Is Us," which airs at 9 p.m.

Under those circumstances, Game 1 of the Series would do well here to get a local rating close to the 10.4 local rating for Game 1 of the 2016 World Series between Cleveland and the eventual champion Chicago Cubs.

It also will be very difficult for the Series to beat or even come close to the 12.6 average local rating for last year's historic seven-game Cubs win, which concluded with a 22.3 rating for Game 7. That was the highest-rated baseball game locally in at least 11 seasons.




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