Official viewership of Fox’s coverage of Game 1 of the World Series was narrowly above the record low set in 2014 but was the fourth most-watched prime-time program of the 2019-20 television season, other than NFL programming, according to live-plus-same-day figures announced Wednesday by Nielsen.
Fox’s three-hour, 49-minute telecast of the Washington Nationals 5-4 victory over the Houston Astros averaged 12.194 million viewers. The official viewership was down 11.4% from the 13.761-million average for Game 1 of the 2018 Series, an 8-4 victory by the Boston Red Sox over the Los Angeles Dodgers, which was also the lowest for a Game 1 since 2014.
The record low is 12.19 million for the San Francisco Giants 7-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals in Game 1 of the 2014 Series.
Viewership for most forms of programming is down compared to the past primarily due to higher viewership of streaming programming, including the same programs shown on traditional television.
Since the 2019-20 prime-time television season began Sept. 23, other than NFL programming, only the Sept. 24 and Oct. 1 episodes of the CBS action drama “NCIS” and the Oct. 13 episode of the CBS news magazine “60 Minutes” drew larger audiences than the official viewership for Game 1, according to live-plus-same-day figures.
The Sept. 24 “NCIS” episode averaged 12.581 million viewers and the Oct. 1 episode 12.523 million. The Oct. 13 “60 Minutes” episode averaged 12.408 million viewers.
The total viewership for Game 1 was 12.687 million, including viewership on the Fox Sports Go live streaming platform and Spanish-language coverage on Fox Deportes. Tuesday’s total viewership was 11.5% lower than the 14.336 million average for Game 1 in 2018.
Since records began being kept in 1968, the largest audience for Game 1 of a World Series was in 1978 when NBC’s coverage of the game between the Dodgers and New York Yankees averaged 43.51 million viewers in an era when viewer choices were basically limited to the three major broadcast networks.
The World Series has aired on Fox each year since 2000.