Guess The World Series TV Viewership (Poll) + Historical World Series Ratings

Categories: 1-Featured,TV Ratings Reference,TV Sports Ratings & News

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October 23rd, 2013


The 2013 World Series matchup is set between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox.

2012's World Series sweep by the San Francisco Giants of the Detroit Tigers was the lowest rated (in terms of household ratings) and least viewed (in terms of average viewership) World Series going back to at least 1968 (and likely much longer ago), even lower than the rain plagued 2008 series. The fact that the series went just four games had Giants fans cheering (Go Giants!), and Fox weeping (No game 5, 6 or 7 ratings!).

2011's St. Louis v. Texas World Series did far better, not necessarily because of the teams involved, but because it went seven games. Every potential Series ending game drives up the numbers, and replaces much lower rated entertainment programming on Fox.

Here's your chance to guess the average viewership** for the 2013 World Series.

Since the longer the Series goes, the higher the viewership and ratings rise, to keep the guessing comparable, make your average viewership guess assuming a 5 game Series (the average World Series length in the last 10 years was 5.1 games).

What's your guess?

World Series Ratings Data, 1968-2012:

Year Net #Telecasts Rating Share Homes Viewers Teams
2012 FOX 4 7.6 12 12,700,000 Detroit Tigers/San Francisco Giants
2011 FOX 7 10.0 16 16,600,000 Texas Rangers/ St. Louis Cardinals
2010 FOX 5 8.4 14 14,300,000 Texas Rangers/San Francisco Giants
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
1994 Baseball Strike
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.

**Of course average viewership means nothing to advertising revenue, but like most historical ratings data, we lack historical demo group ratings for comparison.

Copyright © 2013 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.

  • Jeff

    The NBA surpassed MLB a few years ago. Baseball is slowly fading away.

  • Jon

    Wow people really don’t care about baseball anymore. Just to think this game used to draw 30 or 40 million homes

  • NBC Fan

    16-16.9 million

    The Middle-2.4
    Back in the Game-1.8
    Modern Family-4.0
    Super Fun Night-1.9

    Criminal Minds-2.7

    World Series Game 1-4.0

    Law & Order-1.7

  • David Howell

    The Red Sox in the World Series are a big draw *anyway*. This year, more so. The same matchup in 2004 averaged well over 20 million – and it was a sweep!

    I don’t see any way this series fails to go over 17 million.

  • Benz

    Baseball has been in real decline mode and its because the same teams make a deep run in the playoffs and most of them are boring teams to watch like the St. Louis Cardinals, people are sick of seeing them.

    Unlike football, basketball, and hockey there’s only 10 teams that are usually competitive every year. I think baseball needs to get back to parity like it had back in the 70s and 80s where you would see different teams get in the World Series.

    Even with the Red Sox involved this series will rate low unless it reaches a game 6 or 7.

    2009 was their last good rated WS where the last game of the series reached almost 30 million viewers thanks to the Yankees.

    Baseball’s next best hope is having the Chicago Cubs in the World Series those numbers will be epic for every game of the series.

  • redbirds

    The NBA and MLB are pretty tight. Noone can really say that one is clearly more popular than the other. The NBA may be more popular with the younger crowd but overall it’s really a tossup.

  • Benz

    @ Jeff: Basketball has a lot of parity and I think they have marketed the superstars really well. Baseball needs to market their best players. The last real stars they’ve had in this game that appealed nationwide were Barry Bonds, A-Rod, and Derek Jeter.

    NBA has several of them like LeBron, Kobe, Wade, Melo, Howard, Durant, D. Rose, and several others around the league.

    NFL is the only sport where it doesn’t matter too much what teams get to the biggest stages because the league is built on parity, gambling, and teams and they have their superstars also which is something baseball is missing.

  • Benz

    @ redbirds: I don’t think its close anymore like it was back before LeBron went down to Miami. The NBA Finals are outrating the World Series every year now. The NBA is a clear #2.

    With the rapid growth of the NHL, MLB better watch out 5-10 years from now. They better get their act together and I’m hoping the new commissioner in 2015 changes the league’s direction.

  • redbirds

    @benz The Cards are not boring. Neither were the Giants the past few years. It’s just seems east coast teams bring in more viewers.

  • E

    It’s remarkable that 10 NFL games this year had over 25 million viewers. The World Series will be lucky to get 1 game over 25 million, which would only be if there is a game 7.

  • s0303

    i’m thinking fox is thrilled boston beat detroit :) i’m guessing 16.9 million viewers with around 4.8 demo…

  • Joseph

    I look for just under 14 million on average.

    But if the Series goes seven games, the ratings for Game 7 may go through the roof.

    Having the Number 7 Market Boston Red Sox will help.

    Although the St. Louis Cardinals’ home market is only ranked #21, it’s my understanding that the Cards have a huge regional fan base in the Lower Midwest, which may compensate for the lower rank of the team’s home market.

    A New York Yankees/Los Angeles Dodgers World Series would probably average 23 million viewers because of the sheer size of those markets.

    Remember that the Super Bowl is the only pro championship whose TV ratings are consistent, regardless of the market size of participating teams. TV ratings for the World Series, S5tanley Cup Finals, and NBA Finals are greatly dependent on the market size of participating teams.

    One problem for World Series ratings is that Game 4 on Sunday (October 27th) will face an NFL game on NBC (Green Bay at Minnesota), while a potential Game 5 on Monday (October 28th) will not only face an NFL game on ESPN, but one which like the baseball game, will also involve a St. Louis team (the St. Louis Rams hosting the red-hot Seattle Seahawks). If the Series goes to a fifth gamer, there may be a lot of channel-flipping in the St. Louis area on Monday night……unless either Game 5 of the Series or the Rams’ game gets moved to 4:05 P.M. local (5:05 P.M. EDT).

    That, however, isn’t likely.

  • Joseph


    At one time (the 1950’s and into the 1960’s, prior to the inauguration of the NFL’s Super Bowl), the two weekend games of the World Series (back then, all Series games, even weekdays, were played int he afternoon) would usually be the two most-watched TV programs of the year other than “mega” news events (such as the launch of John Glenn into orbit or the assassination and funeral of President John Kennedy) that were covered by all three networks at once.

  • HalCapone

    It’s Boston. In spite of the curse being lifted, it will rock the ratings averaging more than 17. Most competing television shows are so wretchedly bad every night this year that baseball will be an early Christmas gift to FOX.

  • Benz

    @ redbirds: Your name is Redbirds so I’m assuming your a Cardinals fan so you’re probably either biased which is understandable as I protect my teams as well or you’re not aware of what a lot of sports fans are saying about the Cardinals and how boring they are.

    It’s not so much that they’re boring and this includes the Giants and Tigers as well its just that the teams have no pzazz, they are pitching teams. People would rather see home runs and exciting young teams.

    The Pirates were the one team in the past 4 years since that Yankees World Series that were actually getting buzz because people thought the Pirates were refreshing to

    What I’m saying has to be true because the numbers are down. If the Cards weren’t boring they’d be hitting 20-25 million viewers for their World Series that they’re involved in. I think the Red Sox would help cover that this season but I have no idea since the ALCS numbers were disappointing for the most part with not a single game drawing over 10 million viewers or drawing a 3.0 in the demo.

  • Benz

    @ Joseph: You’re right baseball used to be big time and the #1 sport in the country before the NFL merger and Super Bowl 3 lifted it to new heights in the 70s where it displaced baseball to #2.

    Baseball even at #2 was really strong before that 1994 strike, they still had some good numbers for another decade but since 2006 its been on a huge decline with the exception of 2007 because the Red Sox and Rockies which were exciting teams were involved. 2009 was the only year ever since that 2007 WS that got huge numbers.

  • CBSviewer

    Am I the only “young” person who love Baseball ?

  • ReallyTired

    No Yankees? No Interest.

  • Cory

    Nielsen introduced peoplemeters in 1987., so are viewership numbers before ’87 more like estimates?

  • Tom

    Comparisons between now and 20-30 years ago are unrealistic
    Nba has ALOT less parity than baseball
    Baseball isn’t dying, Broadcast Tv is dying

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