MLB

World Series Standings: Game 1 up, if down

World Series Standings: Game 1 up, if down

The World Series got off to a better start in the rankings, though the numbers remain on the low end of the all-time scale.

Game 1 of the World Series (Phillies-Astros) averaged 11.48 million viewers on FOX Friday night (11.68 million across platforms), up 5% from the Braves- Astros last year (10.93 million) and the most watched Game 1 since the Nationals. Astros in 2019 (12.19M). Note that the only other Game 1 during that span was the Rays-Dodgers neutral site two years ago, which opened to an all-time low of 9.35 million. Ratings were not immediately available.

Philadelphia’s win marked Major League Baseball’s fourth-largest audience since the wave of cancellations and postponements that disrupted the industry more than two years ago, ranking behind only Games 5 and 6 from last year’s Fall Classic (13.82 and 14.14 million respectively) and Game 6 two years ago (12.82M).

Going further back, the comparisons are less favorable. This year’s Game 1 crowd is the third-lowest of all time, behind only the last two years. For a complete list of World Series standings over the past 50 years, see the next page.

The audience was nearly identical to last year’s Friday night World Series (Game 3), which averaged 11.47 million. This year’s Fall Classic starts later than usual due to the owners’ offseason player lockout and is the first to start on a Friday since 1990, the previous lockout year. Friday has long been known as a poor night for TV ratings (earning the nickname “Friday Night Death Slot”), but in the age of out-of-home viewing it may no longer be a rub of the ratings.

Perhaps due to Friday’s away-from-home effect, Game 1 saw a 36% increase in adults 18-34 from last year’s 1.60 (pending review) to a 2.18. The increase among 18-34 year olds far outpaced that of adults 18-49 (2.52 to 2.85, +13%) and 25-54 (3.21 to 3.43, +7%).

Compared to the NBA Finals, Friday’s audience wasn’t far off the 11.9 million who watched Celtics-Warriors Game 1 on ABC and ESPN2 in June. As expected, the NBA had a much stronger draw in the younger demographic (3.8 in 18-49, 3.0 in 18-34 and 4.2 in 25-54).

(Nielsen estimates from ShowBuzz Daily 10.31)



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