If you’re reading this, you were probably watching the Cubs’ epic win Wednesday night in Cleveland. You may have been surrounded by fellow Cubs fans or at least knew of many others who were also held captive by what was quite possibly the best baseball game you’ve ever seen. And you have probably heard from several more people who otherwise wouldn’t have cared about baseball but for the drama of a Game 7 involving two historically futile franchises.
That all added up to a 25.2 overnight rating (approximately 38-42 million viewers) for Fox, the highest they’ve had for a baseball game since Game 7 of the 2001 World Series between the Yankees and Diamondbacks earned a 27.0 rating. The Cubs’ win was the most-watched sporting event of 2016 outside of the Super Bowl and its rating was 66 percent higher than that achieved by 2014’s Game 7 between the Giants and Royals.
The Cubs and Indians also drew a better rating than another recent do-or-die contest involving a Cleveland team. ESPN reported that the Cavs/Warriors finale topped out at a 22.5 rating, which equaled around 44.5 million viewers. If that’s right, last night’s 25.2 might actually mean more eyeballs than Fox’s estimates are saying. And the seven-game average rating of 14.9 is appreciably better than the 11.3 posted by the NBA Finals.
But baseball’s dying, or something.
When looking at just the Chicago market, the game earned a 51.2 rating and was being viewed on 71 percent of the televisions in the city. That makes it the highest-rated baseball game in Chicago history, surpassing the 2003 NLCS finale (47.1) and the 2005 Sox World Series clinch game (42.5). Viewership was nearly as robust in Cleveland, which drew a 48.6 rating and a 69 percent share. That’s nice.
On the whole, this series was the highest rated since Red Sox/Cardinals in 2004 and drew 48 percent higher numbers than last year’s Royals/Mets tilt. That’s really something when you consider that it was up against college football and the NFL over the weekend and the CMA’s Wednesday night.
Speaking of, it’s gonna be really weird to start paying attention to other sports again.