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MLB World Series Preview Historical U.S. TV Ratings

2 minute read | October 2008

The 2001 World Series telecasts (New York Yankees vs. Arizona Diamondbacks) claimed the largest U.S. TV audiences in recent memory: 24.5 million viewers per telecast, on average. 

But the late Seventies and early Eighties remain the true glory days of World Series TV viewership.

The 1980 World Series telecasts — the last time the Philadelphia Phillies won a World Series — drew the largest per game TV audiences on record: almost 54.9 million average viewers.

In terms of household ratings, the 1978 (Yankees vs. Los Angeles Dodgers) and 1980 World Series telecasts drew the highest ever ratings (since 1968, when Nielsen started keeping track), with an average of 32.8% of all U.S. households tuning in, per telecast, during both Series.

In comparison World Series TV audiences in the last decade have hovered between 15 million and 25 million U.S. viewers, on average, each year.

Last year, FOX’s broadcasts of games one through four of the Colorado Rockies vs. Boston Red Sox series drew an average of 17.1 million viewers per telecast — up slightly from almost 15.8 million viewers in 2006, the smallest World Series TV audience on record.  (Nielsen’s World Series TV audience data dates back to 1973).

View complete game by game historical TV ratings for World Series telecasts from 1968 to present.

View series average historical World Series TV ratings from 1968 to present.

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