Game 7 of the World Series averaged slightly over 40 million viewers on Fox, making it the most-viewed baseball game since 1991, when 50.3 million saw the Twins’ Game 7 victory over the Braves.
It was an extraordinary achievement for Major League Baseball, given the radically changed media landscape compared to 25 years ago, and spoke to the historical draw of the Cubs-Indians matchup and a riveting finale, won by the Cubs, 8-7, in 10 innings.
The only question after overnight ratings came out early Thursday was whether the game would beat Game 7 of Yankees-Diamondbacks in 2001, at 39.1 million, as the most-viewed of this century, and so it did.
NFL playoff games regularly surpass 40 million viewers but almost nothing else on television does – other than Presidential debates.
Game 7 of the Cavaliers’ NBA Finals victory over the Warriors in June averaged 31 million. The Academy Awards averaged 34.4 million in February.
In the Chicago area, an average of 51.2 percent of homes watched Game 7, as did 48.6 percent in the Cleveland area. In New York, 23.5 percent watched even though the game did not end until nearly 1 a.m.
Nationally, the game averaged 21.8 percent of homes, the best figure by that measure since the 23.5 for Game 7 in 2001.
Overall, the World Series averaged 23.4 million viewers and 13.1 percent of homes, according to Nielsen, the best such results since the Red Sox’s sweep of the Cardinals in 2004, which averaged 25.4 million viewers and a rating of 15.8.