TV Ratings: World Series Climbs, Trouncing Sunday Night Football

The second-longest World Series game in history is also the second highest-rated Game 5 since 2003.
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Sunday's Game 5 of the World Series — the last to be played in Houston and the second-longest on record — climbed again on Sunday night, trouncing NBC's typically dominant Sunday Night Football in the process.

Early indicators have the Astros' 13-12 win taking the No. 1 spot for primetime — averaging a 12.8 overnight rating among households. That's off 16 percent from the comparable Game 5 in 2016 but still the second-biggest Game 5 since 2003. It also easily ranked as the biggest World Series game of 2017 thus far.

Last year's Game 5, which kept the Chicago Cubs in the running for their ultimately historic World Series win, averaged an initial 15.3 households rating in early returns. That number translated to 23.6 million viewers, a series best at that point, and an enviable 6.7 rating among adults 18-49. The 2016 Game 5 managed to topple the NFL by a stunning margin, pulling in 32 percent more viewers.

As for Sunday Night Football, the Pittsburgh-Detroit game had little chance of improving on the previous week's appearance from the New England Patriots. The game dropped to a 9.4 overnight rating. That's also down significantly from the comparable weekend a year ago.

What's particularly incredible about Sunday's World Series game is the stamina the audience had, even with the bloated run-time. The game ran a whopping 5 hours and 17 minutes — stretching well past midnight on the East Coast. Viewership, it seems, did not drop off after 12 a.m.

The series, now 3-2, returns to Los Angeles on Tuesday night with the Astros now within one win of their first World Series victory.