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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Astros vs Dodgers: The World Series Baseball Needed


Dodger Stadium, also known as Chavez Ravine, home of the LA Dodgers. 

Baseball is known as “America’s Pastime.” However, in recent years, football has become America’s most popular sport. It generates more revenue, more media attention, and more fan support.

On a regular basis, the other three major sports leagues actively try to avoid direct competition with National Football League games. Even in the month of October, when Major League Baseball holds its Postseason, the NFL regularly garners better ratings when the two leagues overlap. This changed after a historic Game 5 in this year’s World Series.

The Astros and Dodgers historic Game 5 showdown, featuring a flurry of lead changes, beat out the NFL’s benchmark Sunday Night Football program. This series could be exactly what the MLB needed as they look to reinvigorate the sport.

Game 5, according to Sports Business Daily, scored a 12.8 overnight rating on Sunday night compared to Sunday Night Football’s 9.4. Since the MLB has seen a decline in popularity over the last decade or so, this is a big deal. Thanks to many factors, ranging from game length to people just finding the game “boring,” people are tuning out of baseball.

However, this is the second year in a row that a World Series game has garnered more viewers than a Sunday Night Football game. Just last year, the Cubs-Indians World Series Game 3 received a 15.3 overnight rating, compared to the marquee Cowboys-Eagles match-up that earned an 11.6. Although this has occurred in back to back years, it is far from a regular occurrence. Before last year, a World Series game hadn’t gotten a better overnight rating than Sunday Night Football since 2013.

This loss for the NFL could be due to several reasons. On the surface, it was not a high-profile game. It was the Pittsburgh Steelers versus the Detroit Lions, which isn’t awful, but it’s also not interesting enough to pull viewers away from a highly entertaining World Series game.

There’s more to the story than just this. The NFL has seen a considerable drop in ratings due to the controversial anthem protests by many of its players. Considering that the same numbers occurred last year while the anthem protests weren’t as frequent, could this just be a continued trend of fans valuing the MLB playoffs over mid-season NFL football?

I don’t think this was due to any fan counter-protest or a poor match-up made by the NFL. I think the ratings are due to fantastic match-ups in the World Series.

Last year, the Cubs and Indians played in a seven-game series to see who would end one of the two longest World Series droughts in baseball. Fans were captivated by a magical run by the Cubs that ended their 108-year World Series drought. This year, by the numbers, fans were given a match-up of two 100+ win baseball teams. This hasn’t happened since 1970.

Then, there’s the narratives. LA’s tremendous post All-Star break run versus Houston carrying the heart of a disaster-stricken city. Numbers and narratives aside, sports fans couldn’t resist a game that saw 25 total runs scored (13 for Houston, 12 for LA), 7 total home runs hit, multiple run deficit comebacks, and an extra inning walk off win for the ages.

What can’t be missed in all of this is the perceived loss for the NFL. It’s not. It’s just a win for the MLB. Baseball has gotten the right match-ups at the right time. Stellar entertainment elements have breathed new life into a sport many felt was on its death bed.