Game 6 of the World Series averaged 23.4 million viewers on Fox Tuesday night, down slightly from the 23.6 million who watched Game 5 on Sunday but still the most-watched Game 6 since 23.7 million watched the Indians and Marlins in 1997.

The viewership figure surely would have been higher if not for the Cubs taking an early 7-0 lead. But it was enough to push the average for the entire Series to 20 million — a figure last achieved by a World Series in 2004, when the Red Sox swept the Cardinals.

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There has been intense interest in and speculation among sports media executives and journalists about the potential viewership for Game 7 on Wednesday night, with many estimates of well over 30 million, possibly approaching 40 million.

A close game would help.