Fox knew last year’s epic World Series matchup between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians would be tough to top—and they were right.
Game 7 of this year’s World Series, in which the Houston Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1, drew an audience of 29.3 million across Fox, Fox Deportes and Fox Sports Go.
That was a strong number—and the most-watched telecast of the 2017-18 TV season—but it was a 27 percent drop-off from last year’s Game 7, in which 40 million tuned in to the most-watched World Series game in 25 years.
On Wednesday night, 28.2 million viewers watched on Fox alone. That was good for an 8.2 rating in the 18-49 demo. Fox said the game peaked with 32 million viewers between 10:30 p.m. and 10:45 p.m.
Unlike last year’s extra-innings Cubs win, the Astros jumped out to a first-inning lead and never relinquished it.
This year’s World Series averaged 18.9 million viewers across all seven games, which made it the second most-watched World Series since 2009. Last year’s Cubs-Indians matchup averaged 23.4 million viewers.
The first four games hovered around 15.5 million viewers and a 3.9 demo rating. That number started to climb in Game 5, as 18.9 million watched for a 5.3 demo rating. Game 6 drew 22.3 million viewers and had a 6.0 demo rating.
Game 7 advertisers include Nike, Apple, Samsung, Target and Disney, which debuted a new spot for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The estimated average rate for a 30-second ad in this year’s series was $635,000 this year, according to Kantar Media. That’s a 6 percent increase from last year, where spots averaged $600,000. Kantar Media said last year’s World Series brought in an estimated $409.4 million in revenue.
As was also the case last year, two broadcast competitors opted at the last minute to air repeat programming instead of in essence wasting an original episode opposite a World Series Game 7. CBS programmed two repeats of SEAL Team alongside a new Survivor, while NBC swapped out repeats of Law & Order: SVU and Chicago P.D., but stuck with a new Blacklist episode. ABC, meanwhile, stuck with original episodes of its entire Wednesday night lineup, and The CW aired Riverdale and Dynasty.
The World Series has already given Fox a big boost this TV season, as its 3.4 average demo rating last week doubled No. 2 NBC’s 1.7. Fox is now tied with CBS for second place in the demo (1.9) for the season to date and will pull ahead next week on the strength of the Game 6 and Game 7 numbers. NBC remains No. 1 this season with a 2.3 demo average.