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MLB World Series scores second-lowest TV ratings ever

Astros’ win over Phillies averaged 11.8m viewers per game on Fox.

9 November 2022 Josh Sim

Getty Images

  • 2022 World Series beats only the pandemic-affected Fall Classic in 2020
  • Game five comprehensively beat Amazon’s Thursday Night Football coverage in head-to-head
  • Deciding game six beaten by college football fixture between Georgia and Tennessee

The 2022 Major League Baseball (MLB) World Series drew the second-lowest TV audience in its history, with the deciding game six accruing fewer viewers than a college football game.

The Houston Astros’ six-game series win over the Philadelphia Phillies averaged 11.8 million US viewers on the Fox pay-TV network, which was down one per cent year-over-year (YoY) from last year’s series.

However, the figures mean this year’s championship series only beats the 2020 pandemic-affected World Series. That year saw the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays in front of an average TV audience of 9.94 million viewers.

Indeed, the past three championships have ranked as the three least-watched in the sport’s history, according to Sports Media Watch. The 2022 World Series was also the first since 2019 to have averaged fewer viewers than the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals, which had an average of 12.4 million viewers.

The viewing figures for this season’s edition were, however, steady from game to game, with game two gaining the smallest audience with 10.8 million viewers, making it the only game to be watched by fewer than 11 million Americans.

This year’s World Series was the first to have no games scheduled for Sunday night to avoid clashing with the National Football League (NFL) fixtures. With game three postponed a day because of heavy rain, MLB pushed back each subsequent game.

It meant game five went up against the NFL’s ‘Thursday Night Football’ broadcast on the Amazon Prime Video streaming service. Despite the competition, the game recorded the series’ best audience, gaining 13.01 million viewers across all platforms, 12.77 million coming from Fox.

By contrast, the competing Philadelphia Eagles-Houston Texans game, featuring teams from the same cities as the World Series, drew 7.86 million viewers on Amazon Prime. Sports Media Watch reports that this marked the first time a World Series game beat the NFL head-to-head, with the caveat that the Fall Classic previously went up against the more popular ‘Sunday Night Football’.

In contrast, Houston’s series clinching game six win drew just 12.5 million viewers on Fox, making it the least-watched game six in history. It was beaten by the Georgia-Tennessee college football game, which was watched by 13.06 million people on commercial broadcaster CBS.

The disappointing World Series figures come after MLB enjoyed strong ratings in the postseason, with its divisional round series the most-watched in the US for five years.

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