Game 7 of MLB’s American League Championship Series proved to be no match TV-wise against Week 7 of “Monday Night Football.”
Fox’s coverage of the Texas Rangers’ 11-4 rout of the defending World Series champion Houston Astros averaged 6.9 million viewers across the Fox broadcast channel, Fox Deportes, and FS1 cable network per Nielsen.
Meanwhile, ESPN’s telecast of the Minnesota Vikings’ 22-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers more than doubled MLB’s Game 7 viewership.
Monday night’s telecast pulled 18.6 million viewers, up 57% from last season’s comparable game window. ESPN2’s alternate telecast with Peyton and Eli Manning contributed 1.1 million viewers to the total viewership.
The deciding game between the Rangers and Astros drew the lowest viewership ever for an LCS Game 7 outside of the bubble season of 2020, during the teeth of the Covid-19 pandemic, noted Sports Media Watch. Overall, the all-Texas series averaged 5.2 million viewers over seven games.
Several factors could have been at play to account for the audience disparities between the MLB and NFL games.
First, the Rangers jumped out to an early lead Monday night against the Astros, removing much of the “do or die” drama from the deciding Game 7.
Two, the Vikings upset a heavily favored 49ers team on Monday Night, giving ESPN an unexpectedly compelling game telecast.
Third, ESPN’s MNF with Troy Aikman, Joe Buck, and Lisa Salters has been on a TV roll, with critics calling them the best NFL announcing team on the air.
Through Week 7, MNF is averaging 15.5 million viewers, up 10% from the same period last season.