It is interesting that the numbers for the WS have gone down so drastically, but I don't think it can have all to do with a watered down postseason. There are a lot of other competitive factors involved from Football (pro and college), and Basketball (pro and college). There are also a lot of things eating into the entertainment budget that were not around. A million other channels to watch etc. But the clear winner has been Football, which is event driven and scheduled so as not to demand a whole week's worth of attention. Get everything else done and tune in for the event every week at the same time. Incidentally, the ratings for the Wild Card play in were quite good:
Through its first two days of coverage, TBS is averaging 3.9 million viewers, up +26% over last year’s first two days of Postseason coverage. The two Wild Card Games averaged more than 4.6 million viewers, up +61% over last year’s first day of coverage and also exceeded the average 4.2 million viewers for the entire 19-game 2011 Division Series.
I think a solution to the ratings in the postseason could involve more of this type of thinking that creates that dynamic tension Joe P talked about. The NFL doesn't have a problem with a 10-6 pakers team or 9-7 giants team wins it all because the viewers don't seem to care about anything else but who's playing well and who's performing under pressure when it counts the most. It's also a decisive game each playoff week. Win or go home. Perhaps shorten the LCS series to 3 games at the higher seed's home. Play the series on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, the format that fans are used to tuning into baseball. It does get disorienting watching a Friday/Sunday split. That's not what the NFL could/would/should do.