Austin Karp of SportsBusiness Journal reports that Game Five of the World Series between the Indians and Cubs beat the regular-season Eagles-Cowboys Sunday Night Football game in the ratings. Pretty decisively too: the Cubs and Indians generated a 15.3 rating. The Eagles-Cowboys: 11.6. It’s the first time a World Series game has beat the Sunday Night Football rating head-to-head since 2011.
There are a lot of people who have sent me this info and have asked me to write a “Hey, maybe baseball ISN’T dying” post. Or to, alternatively, write a “Football is Dying, You Guys” post. Given the issues the NFL has had this year with declining ratings, I suppose one could do that at least half-credibly.
But I’m not gonna read that much into it, really. Yes, the NFL has some challenges these days and, I suspect, there may be some oversaturation of football on TV that is starting to be felt, but I don’t see some serious new trend emerging out of this. Last night’s game was a possible clincher for a team that hasn’t had one in 68 years facing off against a team that hasn’t been in the World Series for 71 years. A team which also happens to possess one of the largest and most geographically dispersed fan bases in the country. The Cubs and Indians was destined to be a big ratings grabber and, not surprisingly, it’s grabbing big ratings.
I’m sure Major League Baseball is pleased by this and that the NFL is less-than-pleased, but I will not declare football dead or baseball, um, undead, even with my tongue placed in my cheek based on a year that I suspect is a bit of an outlier. Of course, I’ll reassess if the Pirates and Mariners make the Series next year and still beat out a big NFL game. That’d really be somethin’ eh?