After Sunday night’s memorable, exciting Game 5, it’s not like anyone really needs more proof that baseball isn’t dying. But just in case you do need more proof, here it is: Game 5 of the 2017 World Series beat “Sunday Night Football” in TV ratings.
Actually, Game 5 didn’t just beat football, it absolutely flattened it. By more than three ratings points!
It’s worth noting that these aren’t the final numbers. Austin Karp of Sports Business Daily tweeted on Monday morning that numbers from parts of the Northeast (Boston and Hartford) weren’t in yet due to weather. The numbers for baseball and football will probably increase once the ratings come in from those areas, but unless the entirety of New England was for some reason watching the Pittsburgh Steelers play the Detroit Lions, the gap between the two is likely to remain large.
Looking back just one year ago, when Game 3 of the 2016 World Series (between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians) competed directly against Sunday Night Football, the 2017 World Series pulled off another upset. While both baseball games beat their football counterparts, the gap between Sunday Night Football and Game 5 was bigger than ever.
If we directly compare both Game 5’s from the 2016 and 2017 World Series, the numbers shake out a little differently.
The ratings for 2016’s Game 5 were 16 percent higher than 2017’s Game 5. But ratings aren’t directly linked to quality. The ratings difference might just reflect the difference in situations. In 2016, the Cubs were down three games to one going into Game 5. A win for the Indians would have meant the end of the World Series for the Cubs and a championship for Cleveland. In Game 5 on Sunday night, neither the Astros or the Dodgers could win it all, all they could win was a 3-2 series advantage. The game was insanely wonderful, but there was no obvious, guaranteed drama (like the possibility of a trophy ceremony) going into it.
Here’s one more fantastic tidbit about Game 5, but it’s really about the dedication of the fans who watched it. From The Hollywood Reporter:
What’s particularly incredible about Sunday’s World Series game is the stamina the audience had, even with the bloated run-time. The game ran a whopping 5 hours and 17 minutes — stretching well past midnight on the East Coast. Viewership, it seems, did not drop off after 12 a.m.
Baseball isn’t like Cinderella. The clock struck midnight and no one turned into a pumpkin. The game kept on going, and the fans were right there with it. It was the second longest World Series game in history, but when the baseball is great, no one cares about how late it is. (Or that football is on.)
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More World Series coverage from Yahoo Sports:
• Recapping one of the wildest World Series games ever
• Story behind Astros fan who stole home-run ball
• Puig guarantees Dodgers will force Game 7
• Dodgers pitcher: My ‘selfish’ decision cost us Game 5
• How World Series is disproving ‘baseball is boring’ myth