Anyone care to bet on World Series TV ratings?

rays.jpgThere’s been quite a bit of hand-wringing over this year’s World Series, which starts this week. It boils down to how Tampa Bay vs. Philadephia doesn’t exactly have the sex appeal of Los Angeles vs. Boston.

But those killjoys are thinking about it all wrong, a number of experts say. What Fox and advertisers really want is a long, competitive series, regardless of who is playing.  ”What gets overstated is the importance of the matchup and what gets understated is the importance of volume,” Fox Sports spokesman Lou D’Ermilio says in an article we just posted.

What’s more, Jeff Gagne, a vice president with MPG North America, responsible for national sports negotiations, points out that this Tampa Bay worst-to-first story is pretty intriguing. It all comes down to the Tampa Bay story. “If that storyline can see itself over a long series, the ratings should actually do okay.”

So keep this in mind if you find yourself drawn to, an online sports book. The betting line on the broadcast rating (who knew you could bet on such things) is currently at a 10.2 share, it said today. That would make it the second-lowest rated World Series of all time. The line for the first game of the series is 9.5.

Ladies and gentlemen, place your bets. MLB: Will the 2008 World Series be the least watched ever?

(Reuters photo of Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price celebrating)

Cuban and the Cubs, a slam dunk?

cuban.jpgIt was a case of baseketball at the Sports Lawyers Association annual conference in San Francisco this week when the Chicago Cubs came up in conversation.

The Cubs, as most Media File readers know, is the pro baseball team being sold by Tribune Co as it looks for a way to dig away at its mountain of debt after it was taken private by Chicago real estate mogul and noted raconteur Sam Zell (careful with that link. It’s NSFW). One potential bidder is Dallas Mavericks owner and blogger Mark Cuban, who got quite a plug during the conference.

Thomas Ostertag, senior vice president and general counsel for Major League Baseball, was giving a state-of-the-sport speech to an audience of several hundred sports industry officials and attorneys. Here’s what he said about the Cubs: