TV Ratings: World Series Opener Falls From 2016 Highs

Los Angeles Dodgers in the dugout - Getty- H 2017
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The World Series got off to a strong start Tuesday night, albeit not as strong as last year's. Even in dominating the rest of the TV lineup, Fox's MLB coverage took a 23 percent dip from 2016.

Adjustments from Nielsen give the Fox telecast a robust 14.97 million viewers. The game also managed a 3.9 rating among adults 18-49, easily locking in the strongest a number a broadcast network has seen since premiere week. (NFL excluded.)  Early indicators had Game 1, a Los Angeles Dodgers victory over the Houston Astros, sweeping the night in all key measures. It averaged a 9.9 overnight rating with a 16 share of households during the coverage block. And while that early number was down from 2015's comparable showing, the 2017 opener ultimately came out on top by just more than 10,000 viewers. 

There was never any real chance of Game 1 meeting the highs set by last year's opener — one that brought in 19.4 million viewers and went on for a full seven-game series, culminating in a stunning 40 million viewers. It was the most-watched baseball game in 25 years, with the highest average audience in 12 years. But neither Los Angeles nor Houston seem to have the fandom or stakes like those in Chicago that propelled such interest in the Cubs finally winning their first World Series.

Tuesday's game, played in record temperatures at Dodger Stadium, was by no means atypically low for a Game 1. In fact, it outperformed the poor showing in 2014 by 24 percent.

Fox is naturally hoping for the series to stretch out for seven games, especially considering the size of the markets at play. Los Angeles is No. 2 and Houston is No. 4 in U.S. population, making the potential for a big tune-in stronger than Tuesday's first game let on.

The race for second place on Tuesday went to This Is Us. NBC's drama darling averaged a 2.8 rating in the key demo and 10.6 million viewers.