Who says baseball is dead? After weeks of audience indifference, Major League Baseball finally broke through in a big way on Nielsen’s Twitter TV ratings with a highly competitive World Series. The World Series even beat out, and by a long way, those more consistent powerhouses, the NFL, The Walking Dead and American Horror Story: Freak Show.
Sports almost always outdistances any TV series (particularly scripted shows) in the weekly Twitter TV ratings, for several reasons, including the must-watch-it-now demands of sports fans, and the fact that games can last three or four hours (that means lots more time to tweet). Nielsen’s Twitter TV ratings measure the number of tweets about a given broadcast, and the resulting unduplicated audience that saw those tweets either during the show or in the three hours before and after.
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Even though MLB was in the middle of its playoffs the past month, baseball has had a hard time breaking through the NFL’s domination. Competition got even tougher with the premieres of social-savvy shows such as Scandal, The Voice, and The Walking Dead on the series & specials side. All those players are in the Top 10 again this week (The Voice and WWE each put two shows in the top 10), but seem to have settled in after a few weeks of high-profile episodes.
So baseball was able to assert itself a bit with the World Series. The first game on Oct. 21 between San Francisco – winner of two of the past four World Series – and Kansas City – a Cinderella franchise that hadn’t been to the Big Show in 29 years – was custom made for drama and interest. It didn’t hurt that Twitter’s headquarters, and the geeky core of its original user base, are located within a few miles of the Giants stadium in San Francisco.
All told, the first game attracted 562,000 Tweets that reached more than 7.2 million Twitter users. That’s 900,000 more people than No. 2, an NFL game between major-market franchises Chicago and New England (Boston), and far ahead of No. 1 series The Walking Dead, whose Tweets reached 4.8 million people.
The World Series games on Wednesday and Sunday also made the top 10, though two others on Friday and Saturday nights didn’t. The rest of the sports Top 10 was filled with, yes, lots of NFL games, per usual.
The other notable bit in this week’s numbers? A fast-improving Saturday Night Live, hosted by Twitter beast Jim Carrey (a whopping 13.1 million followers for @JimCarrey) and featuring another big Twitter draw, musical guest Iggy Azalea (2.9 million followers of @IggyAzalea).
Given what happened at Deadline with our reposting of Carrey’s inspired spoofs of those Matthew McConaughey ads for Lincoln (that is, insane traffic), it’s no shock lots of people had lots to share. The show ended up ninth for the week, despite that smaller late-night audience, for a second week in a row.
As always, Nielsen includes plenty of caveats about its numbers, to wit:
Nielsen Social captures relevant Tweets from three hours before, during and three hours after an episode’s initial broadcast, local time. Unique Audience measures the audience of relevant Tweets ascribed to an episode from when the Tweets were sent until the end of the broadcast day at 5am. Sports Events include those on Broadcast and National Cable Networks only across all day parts. For multicast events, networks are listed alphabetically and metrics reflect the highest Unique Audience across all airing networks, denoted with an asterisk.
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