The 2016 World Series was always going to be a tough act to follow, but this year’s Houston-dominant Fall Classic did a remarkable job trying to live up to those ratings highs.
Play and viewership culminated during Game 7 on Wednesday night, with the Houston Astros handily overtaking the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1, and early returns from Nielsen Media have the game shedding more than a quarter of last year’s record haul. On Fox alone, it averaged 28.2 million viewers. That was after averaging a 18.8 overnight rating among metered market households.
It was not the most suspenseful finale that fans or Fox could have asked for. Houston put five runs on the board in the first two innings, and Los Angeles’ one score came in the fifth inning. The game seemed to wrap up pretty quickly after that, a far cry from the extra innings and near-record run times seen earlier in the series.
With streaming and Fox Deportes views factored in, the World Series averaged 29.3 million viewers — peaking, across platforms, with 31.9 million viewers between 10:30 and 10:45 p.m. ET.
Game 7 of the 2016 World Series was the stuff of legend. The Chicago Cubs won their first championship ever, capturing a 25-year ratings high in the process. The game averaged an initial 25.2 rating among households, ultimately pulling in just over 40 million viewers. It ranked as the most watched U.S. telecast of the 2016-17 TV season, outside of the NFL (namely the Super Bowl and the NFC and AFC Championship games).
Through all seven games, the 2017 World Series was averaging 18.9 million viewers. That makes this World Series the second most-watched (overall) since the 2009 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies. (Even the stunning 2016 showing, an average 22.8 million viewers, didn’t approach the highest average in recent history — 25.4 million viewers, across four games, for the Boston Red Sox’s streak-ending victory in 2004.)
These seven games have been a welcome respite for fourth-place Fox. The broadcast network has spent the start of the 2017-18 broadcast season lingering in the back of the pack, but the World Series assures two weekly victories among adults 18-49.