UPDATED, 10:21 AM: There are a lot of numbers in play with last night’s World Series Game 7 victory by the Chicago Cubs over the Cleveland Indians. One of the big ones: It is the first time the Windy City’s oldest team has won a baseball championship in a 108 years. Here’s another: Game 7 was watched by 40.045 million last night on Fox — the best any baseball game has done since 1991.
That October 27 game during the second-to-last year of George H.W. Bush’s presidency saw 50.34 million tune in to CBS on a Sunday to watch the Minnesota Twins beat the Atlanta Braves 1-0 in 10 innings in that year’s Game 7. The 1991 World Series is widely considered one of the best ever but might find itself getting some competition, at least on the field, from this year.
With last night’s 8-7 10-inning win in Cleveland, the Cubs also became the fifth team ever to come back from being down 3-1 to win a World Series Game 7, and the first since the Kansas City Royals in 1985. It is also the first time they played in a World Series since 1945.
Last night’s Game 7, which lasted 290 minutes including a 17-minute rain delay, also was up 70% in viewership compared with the most recent World Series Game 7 broadcast, in which the San Francisco Giants beat the Kansas City Royals on October 29, 2014.
PREVIOUSLY, 8:43 AM: The 50th Annual CMA Awards had Beyoncé onstage with Dixie Chicks, a tribute to Dolly Parton and Taylor Swift presenting Garth Brooks with the Entertainer of the Year Award, but there was really only one game in TV town last night – Game 7 of the World Series.
In extra innings and after a rain delay, the Chicago Cubs finally were able to break the drought that has seen them denied baseball’s big prize since Theodore Roosevelt was president. Beating the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in the Ohio city, the Windy City team its first World Series since 1908.
Already having seen the best MLB result since Game 7 of the 2001 World Series in metered market ratings, last night’s matchup snagged a 12.2/36 among adults 18-49 and a home run 39.2 million viewers in unadjusted fast affiliate numbers. With a game that went to almost 12:50 PM ET, those results will certainly change later today, as the numbers have throughout this knock ‘em out of the park ratings series for Fox so far.
To make a comparison to the last time a MLB championship went to a Game 7, last night’s stellar night of baseball, not matter what team you were backing, was up 114% in the key demo. Viewershipwise, last night’s Game 7 was up an amazing 94% from when San Francisco Giants beat the Kansas City Royals on October 29, 2014. That 2014 game went up to 6.6/20 rating with an audience of 23.52 million in the final numbers. Looking back at Game 2 of the series a week ago on October 26, last night’s fast affiliate numbers were up a historic 150% in the key 18-49 demo.
Already looking to be the most watched and highest rated Game 7 ever since MLB started national ratings in 1968, last night’s saga at Progressive Field will still have some distance to run to catch up to the most watched ball game ever. The Game 6 clincher of the 1980 World Series was watched by 54.9 million on October 21 that election year as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Kansas City Royals.
As for the CMA Awards – well ABC can do math as well as anyone else and, with the surging upwards ratings trajectory that the World Series has had for Fox this year, they knew Game 7 was going to hit Country Music’s celebration hard. And it did. With a 2.9/8 rating in the key demo and 12.6 million viewers, the CMAs fell 24% among 18-49s from 2015 to a new all-time low. In total audience, last night was easier on the Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley hosted show with a dip of just 7% from the November 4, 2015 show.
Picking up on what CBS did during Game 6 of the World Series, NBC was all encores last night. The House of Moonves split up its Wednesday with a Criminal Minds encores right in the middle of Survivor (1.5/5) and Code Black (0.7/2). That’s a 21% drop for the reality show from last week and a 30% downturn for the medical drama. The CW’s Arrow (0.6/7) was down a tenth but newbie Frequency (0.3/1) was actually even with last week.
In the vein of that tune, we’ll update with more World Series numbers later.