Even for a World Series in which records fell faster than starting pitchers, there was simply no way the 2017 edition of the Fall Classic was going to best its predecessor in TV tune-in. But it was still a ratings monster for Major League Baseball and its broadcast partner, Fox.
Game 7, which saw Houston clinch its first championship in the 55-year history of the club, earned a 18.8 rating/31 share in metered markets, according to Nielsen Media Research. While that was down 25 percent from last year’s earth-shaking Chicago Cubs victory over the Cleveland Indians, it was still the second most-watched baseball game in the last 15 years and among the top four of the 21st century.
Wednesday night’s game finished well behind the Cubs-Indians final match-up, which came in at a 21.8/37, but easily out-rated the other two Game 7s played since 2002. The Giants’ 2014 victory in Game 7 over the Royals earned a 13.7/23 while the St. Louis Cardinals versus the Texas Rangers in 2011 drew a 14.7/25.
The highest-rated ball game of the new millennium remains the Arizona Diamondbacks’ dramatic win over the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series (23.5/34) with Cubs/Indians coming in second and Angels/Giants in 2002 a little behind last night’s contest at 17.9/28. Last year’s finale remains the most-watched World Series game since 1991, a milestone that will remain intact even once viewer totals become available from Wednesday night.
Unsurprisingly, Game 7 set ratings records in Houston, where it was the highest-rated baseball telecast on record with a 47.1/66 number, according to Nielsen statistics cited in a Fox press release. In Los Angeles, the nation’s number-two media market, it was a slightly lower 36.7/56.
The Game 7 rating gives the 2017 World Series in total an average rating of just above 11. That too would be down from last year (12.9/22) but the second-highest rated series since 2005. It would also mark the first time in a decade that the World Series averaged a double-digit rating in back-to-back years.
Many will continue to lament baseball’s increasingly prodding pace and its inability to market young stars, but at the very least the last two World Series have shown the game can draw viewers to its most high-drama events. Given that just five years ago the World Series posted the fewest TV viewers of the modern era, fans can at least be heartened that the bottom hasn’t fallen out like a Clayton Kershaw curveball. Sorry Dodgers fans. Too soon?