2013 World Series Good, But Not Great, on FOX


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)

Past decade
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(Series averages from Fox Sports Media Group)

  • Nate Johnson

    Your Headline says it all Paulsen “World Series Good, But Not Great, on FOX” Honestly I am proud of MLB having good Ratings this Fall but I think MLB has to be use to be the numbers they had all year long and forget about how much Great Ratings they had pre-2008 for the following reasons:

    1.) The Mitchell Report, Guilty parties of Performance Enhancers Takers, etc. has taken away the joy of the game. Remember the saying “Chicks dig Homeruns” well not no more and it’s sad because Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Chris Davis don’t get the same support Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and the early Alex Rodriguez use to. I remember watching Nelly on First Take earlier this year talking about why the percentage of black players in MLB is low and one of the reasosn he said and Im paraphasing was that the MLB market homeruns but not so much skill play such as strongest arm, accurate throw and base running. It’s true in that department, but also with fans! The MLB failed at interest fans in loving their sport other than home runs and pitching duel. Homeruns are exciting but when cheating and stadium changes helped Homeruns dominate then there was nothing to hang on for fans to watch when they finally got tired of it. Football top highlight use to be “Hits” well not no more for medical and politically reason but it’s still the most Popular Sport to watch because they highlight other exciting things unlike baseball.

    2.) Cable Television! Baseball lost a lot when they took away the Division Series from Broadcast Television and ESPN. TBS does a good job but they dont fit with the MLB right now and even in the future. They telecast games on Sunday afternoon which is a horrible idea, I think they should do it on Thursday night where the least MLB games are telecast and where they could have a chance of making fans get use to their coverage because it is hard for them to do so when they watching their local teams play or even taking a nap on Sunday’s afternoon and also doing outdoor activities all during the Summer. Then comes football season and the MLB games all of a sudden gets overlooked. ESPN would of better fit telecasting Postseason games but couldn’t deal it in since they have College Football and MNF.

    3.) The Owners/MLB front office personnel play that “Whatever isn’t broken don’t fix it” Well to them that only works for Money but for MLB overall there is a lot of things that needs to be fixed and up-to-date. NFL/NBA Owners are more busy than MLB Owners and thats why they are 3rd behind those 2 leagues because “the shield and logo” does everything they can to make their game better for fans and players while for baseball it takes them a long time to better their game or even changing it.

    4.) Star Power? I see plenty of Star Power in Pitchers which is Good but it’s tough for Pitchers to bring in Good Ratings. Now I do believe there are few Star Power in Batters, but same with Pitchers it’s tough for them to bring in Good Ratings traditionally because MLB normally showcase teams but not players. Yeah players get paid great amount of money but other than Sunday Night Baseball, I don’t see them promote players for viewers to watch him and his team like the NBA do and sometimes the NFL (The NFL are half and half with their game promos on teams or players). I also don’t see them in commercial or talked about outside of Sports world.

    I wonder how the TV ratings would of been had the Dodgers/Red Sox played in the World Series. I really think it would of flirted with 2009 WS. Yankees, Angels, Nationals and Cubs could also help Bring in Big Ratings for the World Series but that just a total of 6 teams out of 30 and 4 of them either disappointed or played poor baseball in 2013.

    On a Brighter note, FOX did a Great job in Tim McCarver tribute after Game 6 and I was lucky to see it because I didn’t watch Game 6. I loved the way they sent him off with class and support. Personally he will not be missed, but he will be remembered for so many baseball games he broadcasted