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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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World Series Ratings Game 1 TV Audiences Hit All-Time Low

  • Friday’s Rangers-Diamondbacks averaged 9.17 million viewers.
  • The first game performed worse than Game 1 of the 2020 “Bubble” World Series.
Fox at 2023 World Series
Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball and Fox Sports should hope the 2023 World Series goes six or seven games. Or they could be looking at a TV washout of serious proportions.

Fox’s coverage of Game 1 of the Texas Rangers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks averaged 9.17 million viewers, according to Sports Media Watch. That made it the least-watched Fall Classic Game 1 on record. 

It was even lower than the comparable Game 1 during the 2020 “Bubble” World Series, played during the teeth of the Covid-19 pandemic.

TV ratings for the Fall Classic have been falling for years as baseball becomes more of a regional than national TV draw. The lack of national stars and big TV markets TV heading into the Fall Classic.

Yes, no big-market teams like the New York Yankees or Los Angeles Dodgers left in baseball’s postseason. But the record low numbers for Friday night’s Game 1 are something of a surprise.

The Rangers won an 11-inning marathon 6-5 over the D-Backs to take a 1-0 Series. The new Mr. October – Adolis Garcia – won the game with a walk-off home run. Fox offered an All-Star pregame show with new hire Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz and Kevin Burkhardt.

The 2020 World Series between the Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays was the least-watched ever, averaging 9.79 million viewers, according to Douglas Pucci of Programming Insider. 

Fox noted Friday’a Game 1 was the most-watched telecast of the day on any network, peaking at 9.9 million viewers.

Last year’s series between the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies drew 12.02 million viewers.

The most-watched Fall Classic since 2004 remains the Chicago Cubs vs. Cleveland Indians in 2016, averaging 23.4 million.

TV viewership for Saturday night’s Game 2 was still unavailable at press time.

With the Series tied 1-1, the Rangers and D-Backs will face off in Game 3 on Monday (Fox, 8:03 pm ET). Unfortunately, the Fall Classic will have to compete for viewers with ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.”

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