October 11, 2010
The case for Philadelphia being a "baseball town" picked up a surprising piece of evidence on Sunday night.
As John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reports, Game 3 of the Phillies-Reds' NLDS series on TBS held a bigger share of local television sets (27.7) than the Eagles-49ers' Sunday Night Football game on NBC (24.1).
It was also the highest-rated NLDS game in Philly over their current four-year run, beating last year's Game 4 against the Rockies.
What any of this really means is really anybody's guess. Philly fans were surely giving the "last" button on their remotes a workout so they could see both big wins. Also, who knows how Nielsen measures all of those folks who dragged out a second television into their living rooms. There probably weren't too many brains out there thinking about one team and not the other.
However, I think you still have to mark it a big victory for baseball in Philadelphia because:
• The football game was broadcast on free television, while the Phillies were on cable.
• The Phillies' 2-0 series lead going into Game 3 didn't make it a must-watch for the casual fan. With the Fightins' on cruise control to another NLCS berth, fans could have easily bailed to watch the Iggles uninterrupted.
But they didn't, which shows you that the perception of Philadelphia as an Eagles-first, Phillies-second town is no longer as solid as we might have previously thought.
As for the country at large, football hard liners can rest easy becasue "Sunday Night Football" posted an overnight national rating that was 200 percent better than the ballgame. (It also recorded the highest rating for a NFL primetime game broadcast during baseball's division series since a Packers-Bears game in Oct. 2002.)