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11/05/09 6:18 PM EST

Record rise for Series TV ratings

FOX averages nearly 20 million, 42 percent jump from '08

The meeting of the Yankees' run to their 27th World Series championship with the Phillies' attempt to defend their title helped propel a 42 percent improvement in TV ratings for the Fall Classic, the largest one-year increase. There was 30 percent viewership jump for the postseason as a whole.

World Series coverage on FOX averaged 19.4 million viewers for the six games, easily outdistancing last year's Philadelphia-Tampa Bay five-game Series. Previously, the largest one-season jump was 36 percent from the Subway Series in 2000 to the dramatic Yankees-Diamondbacks showdown in 2001. Each game of this year's matchup helped FOX win the prime-time network ratings for that night.

FOX and Major League Baseball adjusted game times for this year's Fall Classic, with most of the games scheduled to begin before 8 p.m. ET.

Add in FOX's coverage of the American League Championship Series between the Yankees and Angels, and the network captured prime-time victories on nine of its 11 nights of postseason baseball.

Between FOX's ALCS coverage and the NLCS matchup between the Phillies and Dodgers on TBS, LCS ratings improved 14 percent over last year. TBS' Division Series coverage, up 14 percent in viewership over 2008, helped the cable channel to the most-watched week in its 33-year history.

FOX, meanwhile, enjoyed a 22 percent lead in ratings among adults ages 18-49, the largest lead it has ever held in the fourth quarter of a ratings season and the largest fourth-quarter lead for any network since 2003.

Coverage for the entire postseason averaged 9 million viewers, MLB's highest average since 2005 and up 30 percent from last year.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.