Major League Baseball posted its lowest US television ratings in at least a decade for the Division Series round of its ongoing postseason, despite having three of four series extend to a maximum five-game length.
The league collectively averaged 3.04 million viewers per game during the Division Series round for 18 total contests aired on TBS, FS1, and the MLB Network. The figure is down from 3.2 million viewers per game last year, despite four fewer games being played in the 2018 Division Series round.
But even with the additional games this year and the typical trend for viewership to build as a playoff series extends, there were several reasons for the 2019 decrease. Last year’s playoffs in particular featured a high-profile matchup between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, far and away the most popular individual rivalry in the sport.
And even with a trio of winner-take-all Game 5 games in this year’s Division Series round, two were essentially non-competitive contests with St. Louis and Houston posting decisive wins, and the Cardinals in particular posting a 10-run first inning against Atlanta that immediately drove viewers away and tied a league record for runs scored in a single postseason inning.
A majority of games on the National League side of the postseason bracket were also played in less attractive, non prime-time game windows for the more populous East Coast viewing audience.
The ongoing League Championship Round still features the Yankees, perennially one of baseball’s most popular teams.