The World Series ended with a Nationals' win, this celebration, and historically-low Game 7 ratings.

Wednesday’s Game 7 of the World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros produced great TV numbers for Fox by the standard of the series to date, but disappointing ones by the standard of previous Game 7s. The final numbers for Tuesday’s Game 6 and Wednesday’s Game 7 came in with an average of 16.425 million and 23.013 million viewers respectively, enough to give the whole series an average of 13.912 million viewers overall.

Heading into Game 6, it looked quite possible that this might be the least-watched World Series ever. A Game 6 finish would have needed around 18 million viewers to make the series’ overall average ahead of the previous low, 12.64 million for the four-game Giants-Tigers series in 2012. And Game 6 didn’t get that high. But the Nationals’ win to force a Game 7 made it a lot easier for this series to pass that mark.

Even though the 23.013 million was a new low for a Game 7 (the previous low was 23.517 million in 2014), it was enough to get this past not only the 2012 World Series, but also the 2008 Phillies-Rays one (which averaged 13.705 million viewers across five games, and had a lot of weirdness with rain delays and a multi-day suspension of Game 5). This average was still down from last year’s Red Sox-Dodgers series (14.125 across five games), though, and it’s also slightly behind the 2014 Giants-Royals series (13.930 across seven games). So it’s the third-least watched World Series ever.

Despite low numbers relative to historic ones, though, Fox will certainly take the numbers they put up here. And Fox Sports executive vice president/head of strategy Michael Mulvihill emphasized how much they beat other networks’ scripted programming by:

Whether it’s worth paying as much as Fox does for its MLB contract ($5.1 billion over seven years beginning in 2022, $525 million per year until then) for numbers that beat the rest of TV but pale in comparison to previous World Series can be debated. But there are definitely a lot of struggles across broadcast television at the moment, and top live sports events like this do still pull in good numbers compared to most of what else is out there. And the audiences here, while not great by historical standards, are still significant. Regardless of your view on if Fox’s MLB rights are worth the price, though, the network certainly got some benefits from this series going seven games and posting higher numbers in the last two (as you’d expect) to avoid that “least-watched World Series ever” label. Perhaps they should send the Nationals a fruit basket.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.