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Fans keeping watchful eye

Even as local TV people marveled yesterday at Boston's 49.8 rating (70 audience share) for Tuesday night's Game 6 of the American League Championship Series, speculation had begun about what kind of number last night's Game 7 would earn.

It was thought a close game could threaten the local sports TV benchmarks of this century: Last year's Sox-Yankees Game 7, which did a 52.9 rating (73 share), and the Patriots' Super Bowl victories over the Panthers last February, which did a 52.2 rating (78 share), and over the Rams in 2002 (56.1, 78).

In New York, Tuesday night's game did a 30.1 rating/44 share. In Providence, it was a 37.1/50, and Hartford, 32.0/46.

Nationally, Fox did a 15.6 rating (25 share), a 24 percent increase over last year's comparable Game 6 -- the Cubs-Marlins game that did a 12.6 rating (20 share).

BILL GRIFFITH

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