The 2023 Major League Baseball (MLB) World Series, the league’s best-of-seven championship series, was the least-watched edition since TV viewership records began.
The series, which saw the Texas Rangers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks four games to one, averaged 9.11 million viewers with a 4.7 rating, the lowest average over the series that has been recorded since media company Nielsen began publishing ratings in 1963.
The series was broadcast on US network Fox, across all of its platforms.
Of the series’ five games, only the title-clinching game five managed not to set a record low for equivalent World Series games, drawing 11.45 million viewers, more than the current record low for the 2020 game five.
Game three in particular, which drew an average TV audience of 8.13 million viewers, was the least viewed since 1963.
The previous record low viewership for the World Series was the Covid-19-affected 2020 World Series between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Dodgers which went for six games, but the first four games of the 2023 World Series drew fewer viewers each than the equivalent first four of 2020.
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This marks the lowest point in a continuing downward trend for the MLB’s showpiece series, as all of the last four editions have made up the four least-viewed World Series since records began.
One reason for 2023’s low interest is the makeup of the series, with neither the Diamondbacks nor the Rangers among the league’s most popular teams nationwide, nor do they have major superstar players that could attract the eyes of fans without a team to support.
The average audience failing to break 10 million has seen it fall short of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) similarly formatted best-of-seven finals series in recent years
Both MLB and the NBA, however, remain some way off the figures produced by the NFL’s Super Bowl every year, with the 2023 game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles hitting 113 million live viewers.