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Cubs fans (and Fox Sports) got their wish on Sunday night. And their Game 5 win helped World Series ratings rebound in a big way.
With adjusted ratings in for the showdown in Chicago, Fox averaged a whopping 23.6 million viewers — the biggest Game 5 since 1997. It lifts this World Series average to 19.3 million viewers, making it the most-watched since the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals in 2004.
Previously: Overnight returns in Nielsen’s metered markets gave Fox coverage of the game a 15.3 rating household rating, topping all previous showings this World Series. That’s also a 46 percent surge from the prior night’s (still formidable) series low. Chicago held back the Indians for a 3-2 win that will take the teams back to Cleveland for Game 6.
Sunday’s outing was the best Game 5 in over a decade. Compared to last year’s Game 5, the series-ender that clinched a win for the Kansas City Royals, the overnight ratings were up 30 percent. (That game ultimately averaged 17.2 million viewers.)
It’s a huge showing for baseball, one that all-but-ensures a massive audience for the next one or two games. With Cleveland still one game away from the title, the World Series went into Sunday’s Game 5 with an average 18.2 million viewers — making it the most-watched and highest-rated World Series since 2009. That number is guaranteed to grow when final ratings for Sunday’s game arrive. Monday marks a respite for Chicago, Cleveland and their fans. Game 6 is set for Tuesday night.
The World Series also topped Sunday Night Football by quite a handsome margin. Head-to-head, Game 5 bested NBC’s NFL showing (11.6 household rating) by 32 percent. At least, for Sunday Night Football, in didn’t harm ratings. The week eight game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles was dead even with the overnight score from last week. That game ultimately averaged 15.4 million viewers.