You couldn’t have written a more climactic finale to the Chicago Cubs’ 108-year journey to being World Series champs than the Game Seven that played out.
Coming back from a 3-1 deficit in the series, the home run from the retiring vet, the Cleveland Indians coming back to tie the game up and send it into extra innings, the rain delay to hold everyone in suspense for an extra 15 minutes, and the countdown of those final three outs. It was as exciting a game of baseball as you could possibly hope for, and that stirring narrative led to big ratings for Major League Baseball and Fox.
Though exact numbers aren’t available yet, early estimates say that Game Seven was the most-watched TV show since the Super Bowl reached 111.9 million viewers in February.
According to THR, the game had a 25.2 rating, meaning more than a quarter of the televisions monitored by Nielsen were tuned to the game, which is massive. It’s possible that as many as 40 million people watched the climactic game. The Chicago/Cleveland World Series had been averaging 20 million viewers but saw a strong uptick in Game Seven, making it the most-watched World Series since at least 2004, when another long-suffering franchise got its own redemption story.
The numbers are good news for Fox, which was ranked fourth among the big networks at the start of the season, but reached number two in the sought-after 18-49 demographic since the final series started.
While the series may have reached a third of the amount of people that the Super Bowl does, big numbers like that from an exciting game with a strong narrative is the sort of thing that can convince more viewers to check out regular season games. A Cubs victory isn’t just good news for Chicago—it could lead to more good news for the whole league.