Baseball, America's beloved pastime, has a rich history of captivating audiences with its thrilling games and iconic moments. But which game holds the record for the most viewers? Let's delve into the world of Major League Baseball (MLB) to uncover the answer.
The Most-Watched MLB Game
Game 6 of the 1980 World Series remains the most-watched MLB game in history. An astounding average of 54.86 million viewers tuned in to watch the Philadelphia Phillies clinch their first World Series win against the Kansas City Royals. This monumental event still stands as a testament to the enduring popularity of baseball, even after 43 years.
However, a recent game has come close to surpassing this record. The World Baseball Classic (WBC) final between Japan and the U.S. in Miami drew a combined audience of 5.2 million in the U.S alone. This riveting match, which saw Japan emerge victorious, set a new record for a WBC game.
MLB Viewership Trends
While the 1980 World Series game holds the record, it's worth noting that MLB viewership has seen various fluctuations over the years. For instance, the American League Championship Series (ALCS) averaged approximately 2.7 million viewers in 2020, demonstrating the league's resilience amidst the challenges posed by the pandemic.
Interestingly, local broadcasts have also played a significant role in MLB's viewership. In 2019, the Los Angeles Dodgers boasted the highest local ratings of any MLB team with an 8.10 household rating, reflecting their immense popularity and strong fan base.
The Impact of Streaming Services
In the digital age, streaming services have become a crucial platform for sports viewership. MLB.TV recorded more than 7 billion minutes watched in a single year, marking an 8% increase from the previous year's record pace. Furthermore, MLB live game streaming on FOX Sports digital platforms during the 2020 regular season was up by 13% compared to 2019.