Originally created 07/11/01

ESPN's ratings down 9 percent for Home Run Derby

The Home Run Derby at pitcher-friendly Safeco Field produced a drop in the TV ratings.

The All-Star slugfest earned a 5.19 national cable rating Monday night on ESPN, a drop of 9 percent from last year's 5.73 and the lowest since 1997.

Luis Gonzalez beat Sammy Sosa 6-2 in the final. Barry Bonds, who leads the majors with a record 39 homers at the break, was eliminated in the semifinals, and Alex Rodriguez didn't even make it out of the first round.

The competition lacked drama. Unlike Baltimore's Camden Yards, which has a right-field warehouse, and Boston's Fenway Park, with its Green Monster, Seattle's Safeco has no internal landmarks, and no one came close to putting one out of the 2-year-old ballpark.

The derby was shown on tape-delay until 1998, when ESPN broadcast live from Coors Field.

Each rating point represents 1 percent of the country's 82.1 million households that have ESPN.

About 15 percent of the TV homes in Seattle tuned in, making the derby the highest-rated show in the market Monday.


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