Yesterday, in our morning roundup of what happened the night before, we noted: "If you can’t park yourself in front of the TV for the World Series, what will you be willing to watch?" Well... a lot of other things, apparently. Game 1 garnered a 7.6 final rating and 12.2 million overall viewers, making it the least-watched Game 1 in World Series history, and the third-lowest-rated World Series game overall. As far as comparisons to previous years, the 7.6 rating represented a 13% drop from last year's Game 1, and a 15% fall from 2010's opener.
And things didn't get much better for Game 2. The overnight ratings are in, and Game 2 garnered an 8.8 - the lowest-ever overnight rating for a Game 2. Seeing a trend here - one Fox ca't be too thrilled about? Oh, and the 8.8 represents a multiple-percentage-point drop from last year's Game 2 as well.
In the Series' defense, Game 2 had plenty of competition - for one, it faced off against Thursday night comedies (and indeed, The Big Bang Theory won the night, though Game 2's numbers were called "likely to climb" after being readjusted later). For another, it had the NFL's Thursday Night Football to deal with, which no World Series game would have last year since the Thursday night NFL schedule didn't begin until after the season ended.
And the good-ish news for baseball: the World Series did get a ton more viewers than Bucs-Vikings, which garnered a 3.9 overnight. Of course, if you stuck the World Series on cable and put Thursday Night Football on Fox instead, at the very least, we'd have seen a smaller gap between the two ratings numbers. And the good news for Fox is that even though the numbers are thus far down from previous years, they still represent the best the network has done in primetime since American Idol in March.
Besides that, though, it's tough to feel too good about these ratings so far if you're Bud Selig. And if the series doesn't get closer quickly, we might be in for the lowest-rated World Series we've ever seen. Yeah, this is a different era of TV, viewers have more options, etc., but they don't have that many more options than they did last year, when the numbers were still significantly better than this. The trends in these numbers don't look good. The Tigers and Giants are proud franchises with great traditions and strong fanbases - why do this few people seem to care?
UPDATE: one thing worth noting here that wasn't in the original post is that Game 1 wasn't close, which didn't help it in the ratings department. Game 2, though, was a tight 2-0 pitching duel... and obviously didn't fare too well itself.