world series ratings

Even under the best circumstances, the 2017 World Series was never going to match the ratings of the 2016 Fall Classic, in which the Cubs and Indians battled through a tense, seven-game duel, with the most famous championship drought in sports on the line. It was the most watched World Series since 2004, and its finale was the most watched baseball game since 1991.

But setting aside that impossible precedent, this year’s matchup between the Dodgers and Astros is landing Fox some sturdy viewership.

Game 1, in which Clayton Kershaw and Los Angeles beat Houston 3-1 in a brisk two hours and 28 minutes, drew 14.97 million viewers. It was the second-most watched Game 1 since 2010, trailing only last year.

Game 2, an extra-inning thriller, performed even better. With 15.48 million viewers, it was the second-most watched Game 2 since 2009, again trailing only 2016. According to Sports Media Watch, its 11.0 overnight rating was the highest for a non-clinching game since 2011, excluding last year.

Given that series typically draw larger audiences as they progress — and that this matchup is guaranteed to last at least five games, and will probably go longer — Fox is in good shape. We predicted before the World Series started that the games would average between 15 and 17 million viewers (Our Twitter followers were a bit less optimistic), and the series in on track to threaten the upper end of that projection.

The World Series continues Friday night in Houston, and it’s probably fair to expect viewership to dip a bit without as much pageantry as Game 1, without as much drama (we assume) as Game 2, and without neither Clayton Kershaw nor Justin Verlander on the mound. But the opening nights of this series suggest there’s an audience for Dodgers-Astros, and by the standards of every series this decade not involving the Cubs, this is shaping up to be a well-watched World Series.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

  • Bscotch Bscotch

    It’s also the oldest audience ever for a World Series through 2 games (median age of 55 years)

    • Geraliz volgs Geraliz volgs

      How do they know the age??

  • MrBull

    If it were Yankees-Dodgers or even Yankees-Cubs, then record ratings would be insight….but, Astros is just not going to draw…

    • sportsfan365

      LA is the 2nd largest TV market, Houston is the 10th largest. Last year matched #3 Chicago with #17 Cleveland-Akron.

  • TheOriginalDonald

    Game 5’s ratings will tell the tale. If Steelers/Lions beats them in the ratings look for #AlwaysTrump to start phewing forth more #BigLies

    • Mike

      For the love of God, let’s leave Trump out of this and enjoy the World Series!

      • TheOriginalDonald

        If only we left Trump out of the White HOuse!

  • Raymond Chuang

    The very fact the Cubs was in the World Series last year already contributed to a very high ratings anyway. But this year’s World Series ratings are up compared to 2015 because the Dodgers have a huge fan base and the Astros have the sentimental support.

  • Walt_Gekko

    If this had been Yankees-Dodgers it would have been much higher. Then you bring in a lot of women who don’t care about sports who will watch ANYTHING that is New York vs. LA (or “Broadway vs. Hollywood”) into the mix who are only watching because of that.

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  • slidepiece

    Are these ratings taken at the time of the first pitch? I’d like to know how many are watching at 11 – 12 EDT when the meaningful part of these games occur.

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