NEW YORK – Game 3 of the World Series is scheduled to begin before 7 p.m. on the East Coast, the earliest start since 1987.
Major League Baseball and Fox announced Thursday that the game on Saturday, Oct. 30, will have a first pitch at 6:57 p.m. EDT, an hour earlier than last year. The rest of the series will be the same as 2009, with 7:57 starts except for Game 4, which begins after the Sunday afternoon NFL games around 8:20.
First pitches were moved up more than a half-hour last season amid evidence that longer games were losing viewers in the later innings.
"The changes we made with Fox last year to start the World Series games earlier helped increase viewership including more young fans and we are optimistic that the earlier start time for Saturday's Game 3 will keep us moving in the same direction," Commissioner Bud Selig said in a release.
Previously, baseball and network officials had resisted earlier start times despite concerns about losing younger viewers, saying the later the game, the higher the rating — and the greater the revenue. To help offset potential revenue losses from the earlier Game 3 start, sponsor Chevrolet is committing to increased advertising.
"We've said over the years that if advertisers were willing to support earlier starts at prime-time levels, we'd be able to begin games earlier," Fox Sports president Eric Shanks said.
The 6:57 first pitch will be the earliest since Game 6 of the 1987 World Series, a day game.