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Sunday, April 21, 2024
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Lack of Stars, Big Markets Dampers World Series Viewership Expectations

  • The World Series features the Texas Ranges and Arizona Diamondbacks.
  • Last year, Fox saw the second-lowest viewership number in World Series history.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

MLB’s most popular and expensive teams didn’t meet expectations during the 2023 season — and the biggest brands that made the postseason faltered, too.

That leaves baseball with a World Series matchup featuring the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks. 

In the American League, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, and New York all missed the postseason — removing the possibility of at least one participant with a national following or well-known rabid local fan base. In the National League, the Phillies saw their raucous playoff run come to an end after a seven-game thriller with Arizona.

“There’s no question the league would rather have had Philly in there rather than Phoenix,” sports media consultant Jim Williams told Front Office Sports. “At least it would have given them two major markets.” Philadelphia also would have given the World Series a major star in Bryce Harper.

Last year’s Philadelphia-Houston six-game series was the second-least-watched World Series on record, averaging just under 12 million viewers on Fox.

Now, the league looks to cap off what has been an up-and-down playoffs ratings-wise. After being down in the early rounds, viewership rebounded in the league championship series, helping MLB to a 7% increase, compared to 2022, heading into the World Series.

On The Clock

One regular-season trend that has persisted in the playoffs is the decrease in the average length of an MLB game. 

So far this postseason, the average game time has been 3:02, a 20-minute decrease from last year’s games through the first three rounds. That stacks up nicely against the regular-season average, a drop of 24 minutes to 2:40.

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