Final word on World Series ratings: Decline is recent; off 27 percent compared to 2005

Again, yesterday I read tweets saying it isn’t fair to compare baseball’s current World Series ratings to its heyday in the 70s and 80s. Hard to imagine, but the ’78 and ’80 Series both averaged a 32.8 rating.

This year, the seven-game KC-San Francisco Series did an 8.2 rating with a 14 share. Big difference, right?

Of course, the entire prime time landscape has changed considerably. Back then, shows like “All in the Family” pulled 30 ratings on a weekly basis. Now, the numbers for all programs are much lower in the era of 500 channels.

But as I continue to point out, the decline in the World Series ratings is a recent trend. Just look at the numbers from Baseball Almanac.

This year’s World Series was down nearly 50 percent compared to the ’99 World Series, which averaged a 16 rating. Cable was fairly strong back then.

OK, you argue there was the Yankee factor, as they beat Atlanta to win their third straight World Series in five games. There also was the Yankee factor in 2009, when their six-game victory over Philadelphia did an 11.7 rating, the highest since 2004.

So throw out the Yankees. I’ll go back to my White Sox. In 2005, Chicago’s four-game sweep over Houston did an 11.1 rating. This year’s rating for a seven-game series is off 27 percent from that 2005 Series. Again, plenty of viewing options in 2005.

As late as 2007, the Series average rating never fell below 10. Since then, there only have been two Series to hit double-digits in ratings, and it required seven games for the ’11 St. Louis-Texas Series to score a 10. The ’13 Series featuring Boston, usually a strong ratings draw, and St. Louis, a traditional power, could only muster an 8.9.

Bottom line: MLB has lost 20-25 percent of its Series viewers since 2005. There’s no reason why these games shouldn’t be averaging at least a 10 rating.

Work on it, baseball.






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