The World Series isn’t off to a great start in the TV world.
Game 1 between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers on Friday was the least watched opening game of the World Series on record, according to the Sports Business Journal’s Austin Karp. The game drew just 9.18 million viewers on Fox, about 100,000 viewers shy of the previous low set during the 2020 season.
Game 1 of the Diamondbacks-Rangers matchup marked the least-watched World Series Game 1 on record with 9.18 million viewers on Fox.
Previous low was during the pandemic series of 2020 (9.27 million for Dodgers-Rays on a Tuesday night)
— Austin Karp (@AustinKarp) October 30, 2023
Last season’s World Series averaged 11.78 million viewers per game on Fox and just more than 12 million combined — which includes Fox Deportes and streaming options. That series was the second-least watched of all time. The 2020 series, which came amid the COVID-19 pandemic, averaged just 9.94 million viewers.
Fox pays Major League Baseball $729 million annually for its broadcast rights package, which includes the World Series, according to The Athletic. The network has aired the World Series since 2000, and its current deal runs through 2028.
By comparison, about 50 million people watched Game 7 of the 1991 World Series between the Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins, per The Athletic. More than 40 million watched the Chicago Cubs win Game 7 of their World Series in 2016.
The Rangers beat the Diamondbacks 6-5 in Game 1 when Adolis García drilled a walk-off home run in the 11th inning at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The Diamondbacks stormed back Saturday with a 9-1 win that tied the series 1-1. The series resumes with Game 3 on Monday in Arizona.
While viewership numbers are likely to rise as the series moves along, especially if it goes to a full seven games, Friday’s opening matchup was a struggle.