The Yankees have been eliminated from World Series contention, and the Fall ratings prospects for Fox just took a tumble. Fox is already down 12% vs. last season in their adults 18-49 ratings and as Robert noted, they face likely further year to year ratings declines now with the World Series almost certain to be down year to year.
In the 21st century for World Series average viewership to break 20 million, it requires the Yankees or the Red Sox. Although in 2000 & 2009, even the Yankees couldn't average over 20 million.
Last season, the Yankees / Phillies World Series viewership was up sharply from the rain plagued 2008 series between the Rays and the Phillies across the board in all ratings demographics +38% among M18-34 (6.5 vs. 4.7), +37% on M18-49 (7.8 vs. 5.7), +32% in M25-54 (8.7 vs. 6.6), +46% in A18-34 (5.4 vs. 3.7), +41% in A18-49(6.2 vs. 4.4), and +36% in A25-54 (6.8 vs. 5.0). It was the largest year to year household ratings % increase in history.
I don't think the NL opponent makes much difference at all to ratings this year. At this point, all Fox can hope for to salvage its ratings is a long series. That both typically boosts viewership in the later games, and adds more multi-hour highly rated games to their ratings averages. A seven game series without the Yankees is likely worth more to ratings than a four game series with the Yankees, but this season the latter is no longer an option.
We'll have a "guess the World Series ratings/ viewership" post once the NLCS is over.
Full World Series Ratings Data, 1968-2009:
|2009||FOX||6||11.7||19||19,400,000||New York Yankees / Philadelphia Phillies|
|2008||FOX||5*||8.4||14||13,635,000||Tampa Bay Rays/Philadelphia Phillies|
|2007||FOX||4||10.6||18||11,994,000||17,123,000||Boston Red Sox / Colorado Rockies|
|2006||FOX||5||10.1||17||11,282,000||15,812,000||St. Louis Cardinals /Detroit Tigers|
|2005||FOX||4||11.1||19||12,272,000||17,162,000||Chicago White Sox/Houston Astros|
|2004||FOX||4||15.8||26||17,270,000||25,390,000||Boston Red Sox/St. Louis Cardinals|
|2003||FOX||6||12.8||22||13,834,000||20,142,000||Florida Marlins / NY Yankees|
|2002||FOX||7||11.9||20||12,645,000||19,261,000||Anahiem Angels/San Francisco Giants|
|2001||FOX||7||15.7||26||16,519,000||24,528,000||Arizona Diamnondbacks / NY Yankees|
|2000||FOX||5||12.4||21||12,657,000||18,081,000||NY Yankees / NY Mets|
|1999||NBC||4||16.0||26||16,105,000||23,731,000||NY Yankees / Atlanta Braves|
|1998||FOX||4||14.1||24||14,050,000||20,340,000||NY Yankees / San Diego Padres|
|1997||NBC||7||16.7||29||16,410,000||24,790,000||Florida Marlins / Cleveland Indians|
|1996||FOX||6||17.4||29||16,890,000||25,220,000||NY Yankees / Atlanta Braves|
|1995||ABC||6||19.5||33||18,710,000||28,970,000||Atlanta Braves / Cleveland Indians|
|1993||CBS||6||17.3||30||16,330,000||24,700,000||Toronto Blue Jays / Philadelphia Phillies|
|1992||CBS||6||20.2||34||18,820,000||30,010,000||Toronto Blue Jays / Atlanta Braves|
|1991||CBS||7||24.0||39||22,060,000||35,680,000||Minnesota Twins / Atlanta Braves|
|1990||CBS||4||20.8||36||19,320,000||30,240,000||Cincinnati Reds / Oakland Athletics|
|1989||ABC||4||16.4||29||15,090,000||24,550,000||Oakland Athletics / San Francisco Giants|
|1988||NBC||5||23.9||39||21,610,000||34,490,000||Los Angeles Dodgers / Oakland Athletics|
|1987||ABC||7||24.0||41||21,230,000||35,340,000||Minnesota Twins / St. Louis Cardinals|
|1986||NBC||7||28.6||46||23,640,000||36,370,000||New York Mets / Boston Red Sox|
|1985||ABC||7||25.3||39||21,740,000||34,510,000||Kansas City Royals / St. Louis Cardinals|
|1984||NBC||5||22.9||40||19,270,000||28,010,000||Detroit Tigers / San Diego Padres|
|1983||ABC||5||23.3||41||19,570,000||29,540,000||Baltimore Orioles / Philadelphia Phillies|
|1982||NBC||7||27.9||49||23,370,000||38,070,000||St. Louis Cardinals / Milwaukee Brewers|
|1981||ABC||6||30.0||49||24,480,000||41,370,000||Los Angeles Dodgers / NY Yankees|
|1980||NBC||6||32.8||56||25,380,000||42,300,000||Philadelphia Phillies / Kansas City Royals|
|1979||ABC||7||28.5||50||21,730,000||37,960,000||Pittsburgh Pirates / Baltimore Orioles|
|1978||NBC||6||32.8||56||24,450,000||44,278,950||NY Yankees / Los Angeles Dodgers|
|1977||ABC||6||29.8||53||21,720,000||37,150,000||NY Yankees / Los Angeles Dodgers|
|1976||NBC||4||27.5||48||19,580,000||34,720,000||Cincinnati Reds / NY Yankees|
|1975||NBC||7||28.7||52||19,980,000||35,960,000||Cincinnati Reds / Boston Red Sox|
|1974||NBC||5||25.6||46||17,540,000||29,080,000||Oakland Athletics / Los Angeles Dodgers|
|1973||NBC||7||30.7||57||20,320,000||34,750,000||Oakland Athletics / NY Mets|
|1972||NBC||7||27.5||58||NA||NA||Oakland Athletics / Cincinnati Reds|
|1971||NBC||7||24.2||59||NA||NA||Pittsburgh Pirates / Baltimore Orioles|
|1970||NBC||5||19.4||53||NA||NA||Baltimore Orioles / Cincinnati Reds|
|1969||NBC||5||22.4||58||NA||NA||NY Mets / Baltimore Orioles|
|1968||NBC||7||22.8||57||NA||NA||Detroit Tigers / St. Louis Cardinals|
*While there were six telecasts for the 2008 series, there were only five games. The sixth telecast was the completion of game five which was suspended due to rain.
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