HomeSportsWorld Series TV Numbers Rebounded From 2020, But Braves-Astros Still Struggled For Viewers

World Series TV Numbers Rebounded From 2020, But Braves-Astros Still Struggled For Viewers

by Suzanne Halliburton
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

You can’t blame the pandemic for this year’s World Series viewership numbers. Maybe fewer people watched because Houston and Atlanta didn’t have broad enough national appeal.

For whatever reason, World Series game six drew nearly 14 million viewers. With this splintered TV landscape, that kind of audience is considered huge. However, Atlanta beating Houston for its first World Series title in 26 years didn’t pull the historical numbers for this kind of grand sporting spectacle. In fact, it was the least-watched World Series outside of last year’s, which was played without fans. The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays in six games. But all games were played at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Tx.

According to each of the games between Houston and Atlanta averaged an audience of 11.74 million viewers. That was a 20 percent spike from last year’s series. But again, go back to the fact that last year’s series was played at a pre-determined neutral site with no fans. The game experience was lacking.

This year’s series was back to normal in terms of crowd. The noise at Minute Maid Park in Houston and Truist Park in Atlanta always was deafening. The crowds were engaged and super excited to cheer on their favorite teams.

2020 World Series Fizzled with TV Audiences

Last year’s World Series averaged 9.785 million in viewers. If you’d like to contrast 2021 to 2019 World Series, here are some numbers. The Washington-Houston game seven drew an audience of 23 million. The first six games averaged 12.4 million.

Major League Baseball also may have a problem with how the game has gotten too analytical and way too long. Each World Series game featured several pitching changes as managers played the averages. For example, Atlanta beat Houston 2-0 last Friday. The Braves held the Astros hitless for seven innings. However, both teams used a combined 11 pitchers — six for Houston, five for Atlanta. The game stretched on past midnight in the Eastern time zone.

Of course, Tuesday night’s clinching game wasn’t great for TV viewing. There was do drama. Atlanta won 7-0 on Houston’s home diamond. The Braves will celebrate in Atlanta this Friday with a championship parade.

But the World Series numbers still were good for Fox. With an audience of 13.94 million, the game bested CBS’ FBI with its 7 million. NBC’s The Voice attracted about 5 million viewers, as did CBS’ FBI: Most Wanted.

On Sunday, the baseball game drew 12.7 million. But it butted up against Sunday Night Football, which drew 15.68 million.

The NFL also is enjoying a rebound from 2020 viewership numbers. Last Thursday’s game on Fox primetime drew 20.4 million. It featured Arizona and Green Bay, with the Packers victory coming down to the final play. It was the third most-watched Thursday game on Fox.