Before the World Series began, the Awful Announcing staff predicted what ratings Fox could expect for the event. Every single one of us projected somewhere between 15 and 17 million viewers a game, behind last year’s series but in line with less-glamorous previous series.
We all seem to have under shot the viewership. Entering Wednesday’s Game 7, the series was already averaging more than 17 million viewers a game, and that number is going up.
The good ratings news for Fox and MLB rolled along Thursday, when the network announced that the Dodgers and Astros’ Game 7 drew an 18.8 overnight rating, making it the second-best-rated baseball telecast since Game 4 of the 2004 World Series, in which the Red Sox broke their 86-year title drought. The most-watched game during that time can last fall, when the Cubs ended their own so-called curse with a Game 7 win over the Indians. Among all baseball games in the past 13 years that did not involve historic franchises snapping famous title droughts, Wednesday was No. 1.
As far as ratings, Game 7 followed the same pattern as the rest of the series: Not quite as good as its 2016 predecessor but better than all the other recent series that might seem like fair comparisons. Per Fox, this year’s Game 7 was down 25 percent from last year but up 24 percent over the 2014 Giants-Royals Game 7 and up 15 percent from the 2011 Cardinals-Rangers decisive game. The Astros-Dodgers final contest was a fairly standard 5-1 Houston victory, not nearly as exciting as that Giants-Royals classic, yet it pulled an impressive audience nonetheless.
In fact, per Sports Media Watch, Game 7 ranked among the most-watched non-NFL, non-Olympics events of the past decade.
Top sports overnights, past decade (excluding NFL/Olympics): 16 WS Gm. 7 (25.2), 16 NBA Gm. 7 (18.9), OSU-Oregon (18.9), 17 WS Gm. 7 (18.8).
— Sports Media Watch (@paulsen_smw) November 2, 2017
And thus concludes what Fox must consider a highly successful World Series. We didn’t expect too much of Dodgers-Astros, as it lacked the dominant storyline that might captivate America. As it turned out, the 2017 World Series was simply full of great teams and exciting games, and the nation took note.
UPDATE: The final Game 7 numbers are in, and as expected, it distantly trailed 2016 but beat 2014 and 2011. We’re still waiting on numbers for the series in full, but the average audience could approach 19 million viewers per game.
Final Game 7 deliveries: 28.2M viewers. Comps w/ the other five G7s that have aired on Fox: 40M (2016), 23.5M (2014), 25.4M (2011), 30.9M (2002), 39.1M (2001).
— Anthony Crupi (@crupicrupicrupi) November 2, 2017