The Cincinnati Reds' sweep of the Oakland A's in the World Series cost CBS a bundle, perhaps as much as $150 million according to some industry estimates.
CBS, which earlier this year paid $1.08 billion for the rights to four years of baseball, lost the revenue from three unplayed Series games and had only 14 of a potential 21 postseason games to broadcast.
"We could use a little better luck, for sure," said CBS Sports President Neal Pilson. "Under $100 million is, I think, a reasonable guess at this point."
John Reidy, a media analyst for Smith Barney, estimated CBS's overall fourth-quarter loss at more than $50 million, with an overall loss for the year of about $100 million.
"If they had gotten three more games, we figure they could have had an increased contribution to their profits on the order of $15 million to $20 million without too much difficulty," Reidy said.
"They bid up the price of prime-time sports too high to support the business that's out there," said John Rohr, a programming analyst for Blair Television, advertising representative for TV stations. "There's a lot more supply nowadays than there is demand."
The first National League playoff game between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati was the lowest-rated in history. Ratings for the six prime-time playoff games declined 10 percent from last year.
The overnight ratings for the Series averaged 21.3 -- up about 25 percent over last year, but still second-lowest since night games were added in 1971.