Whether it’s a pandemic hangover, political fallout, or just plain non-interest in the matchups, there’s no denying professional sports TV ratings are in a free fall this year. Major League Baseball is the latest victim, as the World Series ended up averaging less than 10 million viewers per game.
The 9.785 million viewers was a steep drop from the previous record low of 12.7 million viewers who watched the San Francisco Giants sweep the Detroit Tigers in 2012.
To put the 9.7 million viewers in perspective, Los Angeles county has a population of over 10 million people. Therefore, the World Series averaged less viewers than the population of one of the two franchises playing in the game.
For the majority of you who didn’t tune in, the Dodgers ended up clinching the World Series title in Game 6, with a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
MLB is far from the only league experiencing a ratings downfall. The 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs averaged less than a million viewers with a 38% drop from last year’s ratings. The NBA also suffered through their worst-rated NBA Finals ever as an average of 7.5 million tuned in to watch LeBron James and the Lakers defeat the Miami Heat. The clinching game 6 attracted less than 6 million viewers. In comparison, last year 18.34 million tuned in to watch the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Grizzlies square off in game 6.
Twenty-five years ago, the NBA was enjoying some of its highest ratings ever as Michael Jordan was leading the Bulls. Game 6 of the series between the Utah Jazz and Chicago Bulls in 1998 drew almost 37 million viewers. This year, the NBA struggled to surpass that many viewers combined for all six games of the Finals.