As Sports Fans Click Off the NFL, Ratings Boom in Baseball’s Fall Classic

Roberto Perez of the Cleveland Indians hits a three-run home run during the eighth inning against the Chicago Cubs in Game One of the 2016 World Series

The gridiron’s loss is the national pastime’s gain.

World Series ratings increased 27 percent over last year’s contest between the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets. The first two games of this year’s series, which featured a record-setting performance by Corey Kluber, a no-hit bid by Jake Arrieta, and two fan bases waiting a combined 176 years to celebrate a championship, boast the highest television ratings since the 2009 series played between the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies.

The series averages over two games a 10.7 rating and a 19 share with 19.2 million viewers. The numbers pale next to those from the 1970s or 1980s. But they appear strong compared to those from the last decade.

The ratings bonanza, which figures to increase as the series plays in historic Wrigley Field this weekend, juxtaposes with a ratings freefall for football. Monday Night Football has lost a quarter of its viewers since this time last season and Sunday Night Football has lost one in five viewers from this time last year.

Despite fans blaming players protesting the national anthem for turning off their sets in this poll and in that poll and in this poll, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell refuses to listen to the people who refuse to watch.

“It’s something that I don’t think there’s a single reason for,” Goodell told reporters. “I really don’t. We look at all those factors. Everyone’s got theories, you guys got theories, others got theories.”

One difference between the World Series and the NFL season? Nobody kneels for the national anthem on the baselines. About a half dozen football players continue to take a knee on the sidelines for “The Star Spangled Banner.”