The Chicago Cubs’ World Series victory over the Cleveland Indians not only ended the team’s historic 108-year championship drought, but it also attracted the biggest U.S. television audience for baseball in 25 years.
Despite the final game of the World Series going well past midnight on the East Coast, plus a 17-minute rain delay, more than 40 million viewers watched on Fox, according to preliminary numbers from Nielsen.
That was the most since 50.3 million tuned in to see the Minnesota Twins defeat the Atlanta Braves in Game Seven of the 1991 World Series. Fox topped its own record of 39.1 million who watched the Arizona Diamondbacks cap a two-run ninth inning rally over the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series.
The Cubs’ 8-7, extra-inning win over the Cleveland Indians was the franchise’s first title since 1908, when Theodore Roosevelt was U.S. president. According to The New York Times, It was the most-watched broadcast on TV in 2016 other than February’s Super Bowl, outpacing the NBA Finals, every night of the Rio Summer Olympics, and the Oscars, annually the most-watched non-sporting event.
The three presidential debates drew more viewers, but they aired across 13 TV networks and did not feature any advertising.
This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Huba.