I have no idea if Rupert Murdoch is a baseball fan. He's Australian, so he didn't grow up with the sport, but he is a businessman who owns a television network. That means he's interested in ratings and his network, FOX, counts on the World Series to provide a lot of eyeballs. That's why he may have been ready to convert to Red Sox nation during last night's improbable comeback.
According to Maury Brown, the Phillies and Rays may be very good teams but they aren't drivers of television viewership.
A Phillies/Rays World Series will garner numbers below the 2006 World Series between the Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals. That five game series drew an average of 11,282,000 households, and 15,812,000 viewers. Compare that to last year's World Series between the Red Sox and Rockies that drew 11,994,000 average households and an average of 17,123,000 viewers but over four games.
Brown points to the lack of brand recognition and big storylines as reasons for his prediction. Even though Philadelphia and Tampa/St. Pete are among the top 12 television markets, neither team draws from the national base that the Red Sox do nor do they have the compelling players who are known to more casual fans.
Pushing the ALCS to a Game 7 may provide TBS with outstanding ratings but, if Brown's right, it's a small price to pay for FOX in the long run.