World Series TV Ratings: After Decent Opener, Cards/Sox Game 2 Weak

Posted by | October 25, 2013 at 7:45 PM

After solid numbers for Game 1, the second game of the World Series slid into mediocre territory on FOX.

Game 2 of the Cardinals/Red Sox World Series drew an 8.3 final rating and 13.4 million viewers on FOX Thursday night — up 6% in ratings and 9% in viewership from Tigers/Giants Game 2 last year (7.8, 12.3M), but down 7% and 6%, respectively, from Rangers/Cardinals Game 2 in 2011 (8.9, 14.3M).

Thursday’s game earned the third-lowest rating and viewership ever for a Game 2 of the World Series, ahead of only last year and Phillies/Rays in 2008 (8.1, 12.8M).

Overall, Cardinals/Red Sox Game 2 ranks among the ten lowest rated and least-viewed World Series games of all-time, settling in 9th place behind three games of Tigers/Giants last year, two of Phillies/Rays in 2008, and one each from Cardinals/Rangers in 2011, Giants/Rangers in 2010, and Cardinals/Tigers in 2006.

Excluding Saturday night games, Thursday’s Game 2 ranks as the fourth-lowest rated and least-viewed World Series game ever.

Among adults 18-49, Game 2 drew a mere 3.6 rating — up only a tick from last year (3.5), and down 10% from 2011 (4.0). In viewership and the adults 18-49 demo, the game was second for the night to “The Big Bang Theory” on CBS (17.0M, 5.2 A18-49).

The last time the Red Sox played in the World Series (2007), Game 2 against the Rockies drew an 11.1 rating, 17.0 million viewers, and a 5.3 among adults 18-49. The last time Red Sox and Cardinals played each other in the series (2004), Game 2 drew a 15.9 rating, 25.5 million viewers, and a 9.0 in the demo.

Not only was Game 2 low historically, it was also soft compared to Wednesday’s series opener — dropping by 4% in ratings (8.6 to 8.3), 7% in viewership (14.4M to 13.4M) and 14% among adults 18-49 (4.2 to 3.6). Keep in mind Game 1 was a blowout, while Game 2 was a relatively tight affair.

Through two games, the World Series has averaged an 8.5 rating and 13.9 million viewers on FOX — up 10% in ratings and 13% in viewership from last year (7.7, 12.3M), but down 3% and 2%, respectively, from 2011 (8.8, 14.2M).

Amazingly, given the presence of the Red Sox, this year’s series ranks as the second-lowest rated and third-least viewed ever through two games.

Lowest Rated World Series Through Two Games

# Year Series Net Rating Viewers
1 2012 Giants 2, Tigers 0 FOX
2 2013 Cardinals 1, Red Sox 1 FOX
3 2008 Rays 1, Phillies 1 FOX
4 2010 Giants 2, Rangers 0 FOX
5 2011 Rangers 1, Cardinals 1 FOX

(Thu. numbers from Fox Sports, The Futon Critic)

  • evo morales

    - Yeah, it’s the Red Sox, but that doesn’t mean the same thing it did 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago. The curse is over. Now they’re just another big market team. Besides David Ortiz, I don’t think they have one nationally recognizable player.

    - There’s some pretty interesting parallels between this years’ World Series and NBA Finals. Both feature their respective leagues 2nd best TV draws (the Red Sox, behind the Yankees, and the Heat, behind the Lakers) playing a small market perennial favorite (Cards and Spurs). The viewing numbers have also been strikingly similar.

    - Why does MLB still schedule Game 3 for Saturday? I know the tradition is to not take a lot of time off, but that Saturday game is always a killer.

    • Tati

      The heat is NOT a big market team. Sorry!

  • Montreal Royals

    All 5 of those World Series are AFTER the Mitchell Report came out. This will be 4 of the last 6 that will generate a less than 10 rating.

  • JakeFrankie

    1993,1998,2008,2010,2011,2012 and you pretty much can add 2013 to that as years NBA Finals have outdrawn the World Series. I don’t see this series going over the 10.5 even with 7 games, I just don’t see. I personally thought the series would be easy 9.0′s -10.0′s it’s the Red Sox but many of you have made great points.

  • ZabriskiePt

    In a tremendously competitive TV world, MLB has a choice: trying to capitalize on its best product, the World Series, or respecting the nature of the Game itself. The two things cannot coexist.
    Every NBA Finals’ game this year has been played on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays which are good TV nights and without competition from NFL. It would be interesting to see the average viewership for World Series without playing on Fridays and Saturdays. Naturally, the problem is, like I said before, the very nature of the Game: the actual scheme – 2 games, one day of rest, 3 games, one day of rest, 2 games – makes it decisive for teams to have a competitive and deep starting rotation. Adapting the Series to TV would mean at least a two-days pause, a situation where a team with two aces in its starting rotation would have a big advantage. It’s a matter of coherence. And Baseball doesn’t intend to give up on its coherence.
    The result is NBA Finals and WS are two different TV beasts: Fall Classic is in October, with competition from the new TV season and NFL on TV on Thursdays, Sundays and Mondays. NBA Finals are in June, with less competition and the possibility of building its schedule for TV.
    Nevertheless TV ratings for the two events are quite similar. That’s even more meaningful if you think that in the last years the NBA has had its best draw, LeBron James and the Miami Heats, quite often in the Finals.
    This year’s numbers are very good and it would be interesting to know the difference between the average seasonal primetime viewership and WS’ audience. I guess if you compare those datas to what they used to be 20-30 or 40 years ago, the results would be almost identical.
    everything has to be put in the right context.