There were 19.4 million people watching American television coverage as the United States lost to Ghana in the World Cup this past Saturday—”the same number that Fox averaged over six prime-time games for last year’s World Series,” Richard Sandomir writes in the New York Times. Those viewers were divided between ABC, with 14.9 million, and Univision, with 4.5 million.
The World Cup game was played at 2:30 in the afternoon, Eastern time. Major League Baseball has long since abandoned day games in the World Series, in favor of starting the games in prime time, where they stretch deep into the night, padded out by long commercial breaks, while the players plod joylessly around in the cold of November. None of last year’s World Series broadcasts ended before 11 p.m., and the rain-delayed Game Three ended at 12:42 in the morning. The greed of Major League Baseball and Fox, in their pursuit of the most expensive advertising times on television, has made baseball unwatchable.