The San Francisco Giants walked away with a 7-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals in Game 1 of the World Series Tuesday night, but it was national broadcaster FOX that took the biggest hit after ratings were released.
With San Francisco the No. 6 television market in the country, and Kansas City No. 31, the overnight ratings were expected to be low, and it averaged an 8.0 rating with a 13 share, according to Nielsen. The ratings were an all-time low for the opening game in baseball’s preeminent event.
The overall 2014 Game 1 ratings were down 14 percent compared to last year, when the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals met in the Fall Classic. Both clubs have been significant national draws in recent years and boast huge fan bases.
A dip in ratings for the World Series in nothing new. Game 1 of the 2012 World Series, which also featured the Giants, received an 8.8 overnight rating, down 8 percent from 2011, and it marked the second lowest lowest Game 1 since 2006.
Kansas City turned on their sets in droves on Tuesday night, with a 48.2 rating and 68 share. The overall drop in ratings might be a one-time occurrence, considering the game was lopsided and the Giants looked to be in control throughout. The Giants jumped out to a 3-0 lead, and the Royals failed to muster many scoring opportunities against ace Madison Bumgarner.
As The Big Lead pointed out, the overnight rating is also incomplete and could fluctuate in either direction once the final numbers are tabulated. Yet with no big-market East Coast team participating FOX could suffer a major slide in prime-time ratings for the duration of the series.