When writing about the LCS final viewership yesterday, I wrote the phrase “if the headlines in a week or so don’t contain the phrase “record low,” baseball should be thrilled.”
Well, Game 1 of the World Series is in the books, and our headline contains the phrase “record low.”
Tuesday’s 8-3 Dodgers win over the Rays drew just 9.195 million viewers on Fox per ShowBuzz Daily, making it not only the least-watched World Series Game 1 ever, but the least-watched World Series game ever. The previous record low for a Game 1 came in 2014 for the Giants-Royals series (12.191 million viewers), and the previous all-time low for any World Series game came for Game 3 of the 2008 World Series between the Phillies and Rays. That game drew 9.836 million viewers after a 90-plus-minute rain delay pushed the start back to after 10 PM on the east coast.
Last year’s Game 1 between the Nationals and Astros was the second least-watched ever, drawing 12.194 million viewers. This year’s series opener was down a whopping 32% from that mark. Additionally, it drew fewer viewers than Game 7 of the NLCS on Sunday, which picked up an MLB season-high 9.662 million viewers.
There are not many reasons to be positive about the viewership of the series going forward. Game 2 nearly always declines or stays relatively flat from Game 1, and with the Dodgers winning a lopsided opener, it doesn’t seem all that likely we’ll see more eyeballs tuning in. The record low for a Game 2 came all the way back in (squints) 2019, when Nationals-Astros drew just 11.925 million viewers. MLB would take that number in a heartbeat on Wednesday night.
Looking ahead, Game 3 takes place on a Friday night (never a good night for televised programming), Game 4 on Saturday night has to contend with college football (and the return of the Big Ten, with Michigan traveling to Minnesota in primetime on ABC), and Game 5 will go head to head with Sunday Night Football (Bucs-Raiders). But when the series opens so low with an uncompetitive game, it’s tough to be very positive about the future of the series – regardless of what else will be airing.
[Data via ShowBuzz Daily]