Better numbers could have been expected for a long series involving the Red Sox, but the 2013 World Series was a solid TV draw nonetheless.
The six-game Red Sox/Cardinals World Series averaged an 8.9 rating and 14.9 million viewers on FOX, up 17% in ratings and viewership from the four-game Giants/Tigers series last year (7.6, 12.7M), but down 11% and 10%, respectively, from the seven-game Cardinals/Rangers series in 2011 (10.0, 16.6M).
Compared to the six-game average for Cardinals/Rangers, this year’s series declined by 4% in ratings (9.3 to 8.9) and 3% in viewership (15.3M to 14.9M).
Red Sox/Cardinals averaged the fourth-lowest rating and viewership ever for the World Series, ahead of only Giants/Tigers last year, Giants/Rangers in 2010 (8.4, 14.3M), and Phillies/Rays in 2008 (8.4, 13.6M). This year’s World Series also ranks as the lowest rated and least-viewed ever through six games, falling below the previous mark set by Cardinals/Rangers in ’11.
Given the presence of the Red Sox, several close finishes, and the fact that the series lasted six games, this year’s numbers can be considered disappointing. With that said, the series still put up solid numbers, even if low historically.
The clinching Game 6 earned an 11.3 final rating and 19.2 million viewers, ranking as the fifth-largest audience for a non-NFL sporting event this year. Game 4 was also a strong draw, with a 9.4 and 16.0 million viewers. Overall, four of the six games topped 14 million viewers — respectable, especially considering the competition from NFL and college football games.
Among adults 18-49, Red Sox/Cardinals averaged a 4.2 rating — up 17% from last year (3.6), but down 14% from 2011 (4.9), and the lowest average in the demo since at least 2002. The 4.2 is fairly low for a big-time sporting event, but topped all-but-seven entertainment programs during the 2012-13 television season.
The last time the Red Sox played in the World Series (2007), their four-game sweep of the Rockies averaged a 10.6 rating, 17.1 million viewers, and a 5.6 among adults 18-49. The last time the Red Sox played the Cardinals (2004), the four-game series averaged a 15.8 rating, 25.4 million viewers, and an 8.8 in the demo. Of course, the 2004 series marked the Red Sox’ first championship in 86 years.
For the fifth time in six years, the World Series was outdrawn by the NBA Finals. The Heat/Spurs series averaged a 9.7 rating and 16.2 million viewers through six games, and a 10.5 and 17.7 million for the full seven. The NBA Finals also averaged a 7.1 rating among adults 18-49.
The World Series also trailed the three-game NCAA Tournament Final Four (11.0, 18.3M*), but was on par with the five-game Bowl Championship Series (8.8, 15.1M).
* CBS Final Four averages unofficial.
Averages For the World Series (Ratings, Viewership and Adults 18-49)
Hover over chart to change
(Series averages from Fox Sports Media Group)