USA Today Sports

TV ratings for Red Sox-Astros peaked three hours before Game 4 ended, proving start time was way too late

Alex Reimer
October 18, 2018 - 1:38 pm

Fear not, Red Sox fans with jobs. If you missed Andrew Benintendi’s incredible catch to clinch Game 4 in the wee hours of the morning, the ratings say you are not alone. 

ALCS Game 4 on TBS garnered a 20.5 household rating in Boston and 4.7 number nationally, according to the Boston Globe’s Chad Finn. While those figures are solid, they are slightly down from what the Red Sox drew when they took on the Yankees in the ALDS. The Game 4 clincher attracted a 23.9 local rating. 

A deeper look into the Red Sox-Astros number shows the four-and-a-half hour affair, which ended around 1:15 a.m., predictably lost viewers as it plodded along. The ratings for TBS peaked between 10:00-10:15 p.m., which is not ideal. That means the largest number of people were watching three hours before the contest actually ended.

At this point, we’re all well-versed in the importance of prime time audiences and advertising rates. Nobody besides Gerry Callahan is suggesting MLB start its playoff games in the afternoon. But the 8:39 p.m. first-pitch Wednesday was unnecessarily late. If the game started at 7:00 p.m., the audience would’ve peaked in the later innings, when the drama was at its highest.

Mercifully, Game 5 is slated to begin at 8:09 p.m. Thursday. The question is, will it end before the clock strikes midnight?