Despite going seven games, the Giants/Cardinals National League Championship Series earned record-low numbers on FOX.
The seven-game Giants/Cardinals National League Championship Series averaged a 4.0 rating, down 9% from last year’s six-game Rangers/Tigers series (4.4), and down 27% from the 2010 Giants/Phillies series (5.5).
Giants/Cardinals ranks as the lowest rated LCS ever on broadcast television, and the fifth-lowest rated LCS overall.
By comparison, the last seven-game LCS — Red Sox/Rays on TBS in 2008 — averaged a 4.6 rating. The last seven-game LCS on broadcast — Indians/Red Sox in 2007 — averaged a 7.4.
The low numbers for this year’s NLCS can be attributed to a variety of factors. First and foremost, the series was not particularly exciting. While the Giants came back from a 3-1 series deficit, the games themselves were for the most part not close. The final four games were each decided by at least five runs, including Monday’s 9-0 Game 7.
In addition, the series was hurt by competition from football and politics. Five of the seven games aired opposite the NFL — Games 1 and 6 aired opposite “Sunday Night Football” on NBC, Games 2 and 7 aired opposite “Monday Night Football” on ESPN, and Game 4 aired opposite “Thursday Night Football” on NFL Network.
The NFL won each head-to-head battle.
Game 7 aired opposite not only the NFL but the third and final presidential debate as well. The result was easily the lowest rated and least-viewed Game 7 in baseball history (4.9, 8.1M).
Despite low numbers in both the AL and NL, the MLB League Championship Series averaged a 3.9 rating and 6.2 million viewers on FOX and TBS, according to Sports Business Daily — up 5% in ratings and 7% in viewership from last year.
(Series average from Fox Sports press release [.pdf])