Major League Baseball’s 2019 World Series ended with both a record-low US television audience for a Game 7 and the third-lowest overall viewership for the league championship. But Fox Sports still ended its coverage of baseball’s postseason up 12 percent from a year ago and near last year’s World Series numbers despite less popular teams nationally.
The network finished its coverage of the seven-game World Series, won by the Washington Nationals over the Houston Astros, with an average audience of 13.91 million. The figure is 1.5 per cent below the average of 14.125 million generated by last year’s World Series matchup of the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers, two of the league’s most widely followed teams outside of the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs.
The World Series average for this year beat only the viewership average for the 2012 matchup between San Francisco and Detroit, a four-game sweep for the Giants, and a rain-marred 2008 clash between Philadelphia and Tampa Bay.
Game 7 this year in particular drew a US viewing audience of 23.013 million, the worst such climatic World Series game. The figure is just below the 2014 Game 7 between the Giants and Kansas City Royals that drew 23.517 million viewers, and down 18.5 percent from the 2017 Game 7 between the Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Still, Fox came away from the postseason with a series of positives. The playoff games generated a wide series of nightly primetime wins, increased from last year by the double-digit percentage to an per-game postseason average of 7.84 million viewers, and will represent a larger cumulative viewership than any entertainment series this entire television season.
“In the end, the World Series produced over 26 hours of live content at an average viewership of over 14 million and outdrew the No. 1 show in entertainment primetime by more than 20%, one of the largest margins ever between the [World Series] and the No. 1 scripted show,” said Mike Mulvihill, Fox Sports executive vice president and head of strategy.