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Baseball Mired in Ratings Slump

Seven months after recording the lowest-rated World Series in history, Major League Baseball's national broadcast business is still waiting for a recovery. To look for solutions, Fox Sports executives will head to Milwaukee next week to talk stratedy with Commissioner Bud Selig. Under consideration are baseball movies on Sunday afternoons on Fox's sister channel FX, and promotional ads with broadcasters Joe Buck and Tim McCarver.

With attendance down about 4%, you'd think television ratings for baseball would be up. But household ratings for Fox Saturday Baseball, the sport's so-called Game of the Week, are off 9% to date from last season, and 23% from 2000. Renewed interest in the NBA and NHL playoffs might have distracted fans. Additional revelations of steroid use certainly haven't helped.

But Tim Brosnan, MLB executive, says it is too early in the season to draw any conclusions. "We still have 20 weeks of regular season to go, including some very compelling matchups, pennant races and the postseason."



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