NEW YORK - A small-market team and a short series often are guarantees of low television ratings for sports in this age of fractured audiences. The 2008 World Series added to that double whammy the disjointing impact of a long rain delay and a suspended game.

The Phillies' five-game victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Fox drew record-low ratings. The series averaged an 8.4 rating and 14 share, the network said yesterday. That's down 17 percent from the previous low, a 10.1 for the five-game Cardinals-Tigers series in 2006.

When Brad Lidge struck out Eric Hinske for the final out to give the city its first major sports championship in 25 years, the Philadelphia area recorded a 54.5 rating and 73 share. *