MLB couldn’t have asked for a better first round to the 2015 postseason. Three of the four series went all the way to five games and the other was won by the Chicago Cubs. We had controversy, thrilling finishes, great stories, and pretty much everything you could ask for – including ratings.
The Royals-Astros deciding ALDS Game 5 was the most watched event in the history of FS1, gathering 5.9 million viewers, a massive number for the network:
Game 5 of the Houston Astros-Kansas City Royals American League Division Series played last night at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, tallied 5,944,000 viewers on FS1, making it the most-watched telecast in the network’s history, smashing the prior mark set by 2014 NLCS Game 4 between the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals (5,092,000) by 17%. FS1’s top three most-watched programs are now MLB postseason games: 2015 Astros-Royals ALDS Game 5, followed by 2014 NLCS Game 4 and 2014 NLCS Game 5 (4,891,000).
The insanely epic deciding Game 5 between the Blue Jays and Rangers (featuring Jose Bautista’s bat flip heard round the world) averaged 3.2 million viewers in the early afternoon. However, it did peak at 5.8 million viewers between 7:30-7:45 PM ET.
One of the reasons why industry insiders and analysts see FS1 rather than NBCSN as more of a serious potential challenger to ESPN is their current portfolio of live sports rights. Live MLB postseason games are a huge feather in FS1’s cap and this year’s Division Series has now given the two year old network its new high-water audience mark. To put this number in perspective, NBCSN’s record audience is this year’s Brickyard 400 at 4.7 million viewers.
FS1 may still be slowly trying to find a way to have some studio programming that resonates with fans, but the best way to get viewers to your network is and always will be live sports. With fans flocking in for the MLB postseason, it’s now up to FS1 to give those fans reason to stick around.