lowest TV ratings for World Series game ever

Mookie Betts #50 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a home run in the sixth inning during Game 1 of the 2020 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Globe Life Field on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 in Arlington, Texas.

Kelly Gavin | Major League Baseball | Getty Images

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ appearance in Major League Baseball’s top event couldn’t save the league from the impact of a sports viewership decline.

Game One of the Dodgers’ series against the Tampa Bay Rays attracted 9.1 million viewers, Fox Sports said. The game was the most watched program on Tuesday but also became the least-watched World Series game ever — or at least since Nielsen began tracking ratings in 1968.

The last time viewership dipped below 10 million for a World Series contest came was Game 3 in 2008 when the Rays played the Philadelphia Phillies (9.8 million viewers). That game was affected by a 90-minute rain delay.

The Dodgers took a 1-0 series lead after an 8-3 win on Tuesday, as the team seeks its first championship since 1988. The World Series is not moving between the teams’ home stadiums as usual, but is taking place at Global Life Field in Arlington, Texas, as MLB switched to a bubble postseason after due to the coronavirus pandemic pandemic. 

The last time the Dodgers reached the World Series in 2018 against the Boston Red Sox, Game One drew 13.8 million viewers.  Last year’s World Series opener between the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros attracted 12.1 million viewers for the first game.

The dugout reacts as Eduardo Nunez #36 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates his three-run home run during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game One of the 2018 World Series at Fenway Park on October 23, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Elsa | Getty Images

On Tuesday, the network also reported 9.7 million viewers watched game seven of the National League Championship Series on Fox and its FS1 channel. The Dodgers overcame a 3-1 series deficit to the Liberty Media-owned Atlanta Braves to advance to the World Series.

By way of comparison, Fox’s telecast of game seven of the 2017 American League Championship Series featuring the New York Yankees and Houston Astros drew 9.9 million viewers.

Game two of the World Series is Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time. The series takes a one-day break on Thursday before resuming for game three on Friday.

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