Is this thing on?
Yeah, it’s been a while. Life got busy for a while and it still is, but I want to give this another shot. We will see if I truly get back on track, but here we go.
Baseball season is well underway. Opening Day made headlines earlier when Donald Trump declined to throw out the first pitch for the Nationals, but don’t worry, I’m not here to talk about politics. I feel like everyone has had enough of that for a little while.
Instead, we are going to talk about the high MLB rides into the season on following last October’s World Series. In case you somehow forgot, the Chicago Cubs came back from being down three games to one to beat the Cleveland Indians in a thrilling Game 7 that saw the longest standing championship drought in professional sports broken. It was epic. It was exciting. It was entertaining. It was the best baseball I had watched in a very long time.
And it killed on TV. Game 7 was watched by roughly 40 million people, the most watched game since Game 6 of the 1991 World Series between the Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves. The series itself had the highest average viewership since 2004, when the Red Sox broke the Curse of the Bambino. (Note: Breaking curses makes for great television audiences)
This is a huge jump from where baseball was just a few short years ago. In 2014, the Kansas Royals and San Francisco Giants played a Game 7 of their own. That game drew just 23.5 million people watching.
That’s a bit of a drop off. It was part of a much larger trend for MLB though. Four of the five least watched World Series in history have occurred since 2010, and all of them since 2008. The 2012 World Series between Detroit and San Francisco entertained an audience of just 12 million viewers on average. The 2016 edition had 10 million more viewers on average per night.
Overall, MLB got lucky with two fan bases who had not seen their team win a World Series since 1948 when Cleveland beat the Boston Braves. Having two championship-starved cities definitely leads to more interest, something the league cannot control.
It might have just been a one time thing, but that Cubs and Indians series definitely drew a lot of fans back to baseball.
There is no doubt that this is exactly what baseball needed.