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MLB World Series Ratings Through Game 2: Not a Pretty Picture

October 31, 2023 by Mitch Metcalf

The 2023 World Series between

the Texas Rangers is underway,

and the early TV ratings are in. Although the Game 1 audience showed some promise on Friday night, Game 2 confirmed this matchup is about as bad as it

gets for a sport that struggles to deliver a national television audience.

Game 1’s audience peaked at 9.9M viewers around 9:30pm ET and nearly matched that number again around 11:00pm (9.8M) as the game moved through extra innings and ended with a 6-5 Texas victory after 11 innings. On Saturday the Game 2 audience peaked at 8.9M viewers around 9:15pm but the audience evaporated toward 11pm as the 2-1 Arizona lead through 6 innings turned into a 9-1 rout by the end.

Game 1 on Friday ended up with 9.2M viewers in an average minute, while Game 2 dropped to 8.2M viewers for an average minute. Games 1-2 together average 8.7M this year, down -22% from 11.2M last year (PHI-HOU) and down -6% from the previous low of 9.3M in 2020 (TB-LA).

The 2023 World Series is tracking toward the lowest audience size (millions of viewers) and the second-lowest relative audience index, which compares a given year’s audience size to the most recent five years. This puts World Series from different eras on an equal footing, with a 100 index exactly matching the recent five years, a 110 index indicating a year is +10% above the recent five years, and a 90 index denoting -10% below the recent five years. Here is the updated track since 1990:


[Index to recent years, 100=average] Millions of U.S. viewers

Below Average World Series [Index 94 or less]

  • [81] 9.3M TB Rays vs LA Dodgers 2020

  • [84] 8.7M ARI Dbacks at TEX Rangers 2023

  • [86] 13.8M PHI Phillies at TB Rays 2008

  • [88] 12.5M SF Giants at KC Royals 2014

  • [88] 16.1M HOU Astros at CHI White Sox 2005

  • [88] 17.5M SF Giants at ANA Angels 2002

  • [89] 19.4M CLE Indians at FLA Marlins 1997

  • [90] 15.5M STL Cardinals at DET Tigers 2006

  • [91] 12.3M DET Tigers at SF Giants 2012

  • [92] 18.3M SD Padres at NY Yankees 1998

  • [94] 18.2M NY Mets at NY Yankees 2000

Average World Series [Index 95-105]

  • [96] 14.2M TEX Rangers at STL Cardinals 2011

  • [97] 14.5M NY Mets at KC Royals 2015

  • [97] 21.6M ATL Braves at NY Yankees 1996

  • [98] 19.0M FLA Marlins at NY Yankees 2003

  • [98] 24.2M PHI Phillies at TOR Blue Jays 1993

  • [99] 14.6M TEX Rangers at SF Giants 2010

  • [99] 12.1M WAS Nationals at HOU Astros 2019

  • [100] 13.7M LA Dodgers at BOS Red Sox 2018

  • [103] 10.7M ATL Braves at HOU Astros 2021

  • [103] 13.9M STL Cardinals at BOS Red Sox 2013

  • [103] 20.1M NY Yankees at ARI Dbacks 2001

  • [104] 15.3M HOU Astros at LA Dodgers 2017

  • [104] 16.9M COL Rockies at BOS Red Sox 2007

Above Average World Series [Index 105+]

  • [107] 11.2M PHI Phillies at HOU Astros 2022

  • [111] 27.5M TOR Blue Jays at ATL Braves 1992

  • [114] 22.4M NY Yankees at ATL Braves 1999

  • [114] 27.5M CLE Indians at ATL Braves 1995

  • [116] 28.5M ATL Braves at MIN Twins 1991

  • [122] 19.2M PHI Phillies at NY Yankees 2009

  • [123] 18.3M CHI Cubs at CLE Indians 2016

  • [131] 24.2M STL Cardinals at BOS Red Sox 2004

Coming in the next post in a few days: the demographics of MLB. In addition to getting smaller, the World Series TV audience continues to get much older, a double-whammy that makes the next media rights agreement much tougher for MLB than NBA and NFL. Also, we will update for Game 3-4 ratings (available late Wednesday).

Keep coming back to this space for coverage of these exciting times in our business. If you find this post of interest, we encourage you to share the post on other social channels (share buttons below). If you want to be notified when there is a new post, please subscribe to join our mailing list.

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