The final game of the 2023 World Series drew the largest audience of the entire Fall Classic, but the numbers weren’t anything drastic. In fact, the series between the Texas Rangers and the Arizona Diamondbacks was the least-watched World Series of all time. At least in recorded TV history.
The numbers in viewership for the 2023 World series totaled out at around 9.11 million on average. Thats less than the 9.79 million average from the 2020 series when the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays. There was a 23% dropoff between last years fall classic to this season.
Wednesday night’s game averaged 11.48 million on Fox, a jump of 3 million compared to Tuesday night’s audience. The total audience across all Fox platforms was 11.64 million. That audience had peaked for the final three outs with 14.27 million viewers. Game 5 was the first of the series with over 10 million views. Game 3 was the least-watched Fall Classic game on record with 8.13 million views.
Major League Baseball faced a tough audience in 2023 because the two teams in the World Series didn’t have a great National appeal. The expanded playoffs also meant it was a series matching the teams with the seventh- and 11th-best records.
There has been nine different World Series champions since 2013 which might have some appeal on the TV side. That means they’re drawing in new viewers each year. At least according to Fox.
“I think it’s a good thing for the health of baseball to have new pennant winners and new champions, new teams playing in the World Series. You don’t want it to be the same market and the same brands every year,” Fox EVP, Head of Strategy and Analytics Mike Mulvihill said. “But I admit it is difficult for ratings in the short term when you’ve got some brands paired up that don’t really have traditional national boards.”
The schedule and short series both might have been factors of the views were so low. Or it could have been that neither team had a huge national appeal. The World Series continued to beat out every other entertainment program, with only truly competing with one other sporting event… the Monday Night football game between the Detroit Lions and Las Vegas Raiders.
“Our two hopes and expectations are to beat everything in entertainment, and to have a long series. We didn’t really get a long series, but we did still beat everything in entertainment,” Mulvihill said. “As long as the series continues to do that, it’ll always be powerful in prime time.”
The addition of the pitch clock and shorter games had a positive effect (7% increase) on views in the regular season.
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