The opening game of Major League Baseball’s (MLB) post-season 2023 World Series delivered the lowest domestic TV ratings for Game 1 of a World Series on record.
The clash on Friday (October 27) between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Texas Rangers averaged a viewing figure of 9.17 million on national network Fox (9.35 million across all Fox platforms, including digital and social media), and a 4.6 rating. The Rangers won 6-5, with the opening match played in Arlington, Texas.
The previous lowest ratings for the opening clash of a World Series came in 2020 – at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic – when the Tampa Bay Rays took on the LA Dodgers. That game was watched by 9.6 million across all Fox platforms.
The Rangers’ win against the Diamondbacks was only watched by a peak audience of 9.89 million between 9:30 and 9:45 pm local time.
In terms of all World Series fixtures, not only the opening game, it is the second-least-watched encounter since records began and only the sixth game that failed to attract at least 10 million viewers.
In terms of direct viewership and ratings falls since the equivalent fixture of the last MLB post-season, there was an 18% drop in ratings and a 20% fall in viewership.
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Since the opening game of the series (comprised of seven in total), the score has subsequently progressed to 2-1 in favor of the Rangers.
Since 1969, all MLB World Series games have had their average viewer ratings calculated.
These low viewing numbers will come as a disappointment to the league, especially since in early October MLB announced that its 2023 regular season saw a large growth in attendance and record streaming numbers.
More than 70 million attendees were notched across MLB’s 2,430 regular season fixtures, an increase of 9.6% on the nearly 64.5 million recorded in the 2022 campaign.
This made for an average attendance per game increase of 9.1% over 2022, which is by percentage the largest per-game attendance increase in 30 years, although this does not include the seasons impacted by COVID-19.
In addition to this, the league’s digital streaming service, MLB.tv, saw record streaming figures.