This year’s Houston Astros-Washington Nationals World Series is on track to be the least-watched in the history of the game, the Associated Press reported via Nielsen data on Tuesday.
The series has averaged 11.6 million viewers through the first five games, according to Nielsen. The current least-watched series was the San Francisco Giants’ sweep of the Detroit Tigers in 2012, which garnered an average of 12.64 million viewers.
An important note, however, is that at least one elimination game — which you might expect to bring higher viewership — is yet to come. Should the Astros clinch it in Game 6, however, it would need to draw approximately 18 million viewers to bring the series’ average over 2012’s average (or average about 15.5 million over the final two games).
One reason for this year’s low numbers could be its conflict with Sunday Night Football. According to Nielsen, 18.3 million people tuned in to watch the Green Bay Packers take on the Kansas City Chiefs last weekend, compared to the 11.4 million who watched the baseball game happening at the same time. Since Nielsen began keeping detailed records in 1987, that disparity of 6.9 million is the widest viewership margin an NFL game has ever had over a World Series game.
Additionally, with an 8 p.m. Eastern Time start, the World Series can be a tough sell for East Coast fans in particular, especially on a work night.
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