The start of Game 3 of the World Series will be moved up one hour from a year ago, giving Major League Baseball its earliest beginning to a championship contest since 1987 as the sport tries to reach younger fans.
The Oct. 30 game on News Corp.’s Fox will start at 6:57 p.m. New York time, Major League Baseball said in a news release.
Baseball last season moved up its league championship series and World Series starts to before 8 p.m. for the first time since 1971. The New York Yankees’ six-game win over the Philadelphia Phillies for the title produced the highest television viewership for the championship round in five years, averaging 19.4 million viewers.
“The changes we made with Fox last year to start the World Series games earlier helped increase viewership including more young fans,” baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. “We are optimistic that the earlier start time for Saturday’s Game 3 will keep us moving in the same direction.”
Baseball and its television rights-holders have been criticized by fans and the news media for starting postseason games so late that they often end near midnight New York time on school nights, depriving youngsters of watching the end of the sport’s most important contests. The later starts allow television networks to reach larger audiences and charge more for ads.
The first two games of this year’s World Series will be held at the National League team’s park on Oct. 27 and 28. Games 3, 4 and 5 will be played in the American League stadium before the teams return to the NL park if Games 6 and 7 are needed. The NL’s All-Star Game win over the AL in July decided home-field advantage.
Start times other than Game 3 will be at 7:57 p.m. except for Game 4, which is scheduled for 8:20 and will begin after the conclusion of the National Football League coverage by Fox.
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