Game 5 World Series Marcus Semien Corey Seager Texas Rangers second baseman Marcus Semien (2) celebrates with shortstop Corey Seager (5) after hitting a two run home run during the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks during game five of the 2023 World Series at Chase Field.

Game 5 of the 2023 World Series was by far the most-watched of this season’s Fall Classic, but the series ended as the least-watched in MLB history.

11.481 million viewers tuned in for the Texas Rangers’ series-clinching 5-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Wednesday’s Game 5, with another 163,000 tuning in on Fox Deportes. Not only was this the most-watched game of the series, it wasn’t even the least-watched Game 5 ever. The 2020 series between the Dodgers and Rays in the bubble averaged 10.059 million viewers for Game 5, and 2019’s Astros-Nationals series averaged 11.390 million viewers.

But overall, the series was a dud for MLB and Fox. The five-game Rangers championship averaged 9.028 million viewers, an average of 700,000 fewer viewers than the previous least-watched World Series ever (the 2020 Dodgers-Rays series mentioned above). The sixth game helped that series, which averaged 9.217 million viewers on Fox through five games.

Even with the hearty viewership spike for Game 5 (an extra three million viewers), it seems unlikely this series would have surpassed 2020 with a Game 6. To top that average, a Game 6 would have needed to average over 13 million viewers (a mark hit by just four games over the last four World Series) – on a Friday night, nonetheless.

While the full five-game slate was a disappointment, with all-time lows for Games 1-4 and record lows for any game set by Games 2 and 3, the closing spike for Game 5 is somewhat encouraging. While it ended 5-0, the game was arguably the best of the series after the Rangers’ extra-inning walk-off win in Game 1. The game was scoreless through six, with Diamondbacks starter Zac Gallen no-hitting the Rangers over the first two-thirds of the game. Arizona put men in scoring position in the first five innings but couldn’t break the deadlock. Once Texas broke through against Gallen and took the lead in the seventh, the Diamondbacks put runners on in the seventh and eighth but couldn’t tie the game. The Rangers added insurance in the ninth, which sealed the deal.

For eight innings, it was a close, dramatic game with everything on the line, and no matter how nationally unappealing the teams involved were, MLB couldn’t have asked much more from the final game of the 2023 season.

[Data via Sports TV Ratings]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.