After Dethroning Sunday Night Football, World Series Ratings Ascent Continues Into Deciding Game

AP Photo
The Associated Press

The World Series continues to hit the ball out of the park when it comes to Nielsen ratings.

Game Six registered a 14.8 rating in metered markets on Tuesday night despite the Chicago Cubs defeating the Cleveland Indians in blowout fashion 9-3. The rating beat the last World Series Game Six, 2014’s Kansas City Royals’ 10-0 destruction of the San Francisco Giants, by 66 percent. The Cubs-Indians scrap boasted the highest numbers for a Game Six since 2009’s big-market World Series between the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies.

Two frustrated franchises waiting 176 combined years for a championship, the competitive nature of the series, and compelling individual performances by Corey Kluber, Kyle Schwarber, and others all drive viewer interest. Baseball’s ratings spike likely in part derives from the corresponding drop in viewership for the National Football League since Colin Kaepernick began his protest of the national anthem. Baseball, like college football, sees the NFL’s loss as their gain.

For the broadcast week ending October 30, the World Series claimed five out of the top six spots in the Nielsen rankings. Game Five’s 24 million viewers decisively bested Cowboys-Eagles on Sunday Night Football by almost 12 million eyes. The victory by baseball over football marks the first such loss by the NFL’s marquee weekly matchup against MLB since 2011.

Game Seven, which starts Wednesday night shortly after 8 p.m. Eastern, figures to drive the already stellar series ratings even higher. The high-water mark for baseball viewership came in Game Seven of the 1986 Mets-Red Sox World Series. The nadir came in a rain-delayed Game Three of 2008’s Phillies-Devil Rays series.