Fox narrowly avoided setting the wrong kind of record for Game 1 of the 2019 World Series between the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros. The network wasn’t as lucky for Game 2.
Wednesday night’s game, in which the Nationals soundly won 12-3 to take a 2-0 lead, drew 11.93 million viewers, the smallest audience ever for a Game 2. That was down 3% from the previous record set in 2012 (12.34 million), when the San Francisco Giants swept away the Detroit Tigers to win their second title in three years. Fox avoided the same distinction for Game 1 on Tuesday by just 3,000 viewers.
In the adults 18-49 demo, Game 2 drew a 2.9 rating, which was down 6% from Tuesday’s Game 1. In total viewers, Fox shed 2% of its Game 1 audience.
Factoring in streaming platforms, Fox added another 480,000 viewers to bring that total to 12.41 million. In the Washington, D.C. market, Game 2 was the highest-rated MLB telecast since the 2001 World Series.
Wednesday’s game looked like it would come down to the wire, being knotted at 2-2 through the first six innings. Then the Nationals’ bats exploded against the Astros’ bullpen, scoring 10 runs in the last three innings. But now Fox is looking at the ratings-unfriendly possibility of an upset sweep by the Nats.
The series takes a break Thursday — Fox has the “Thursday Night Football” game between the Washington Redskins and the Minnesota Vikings tonight — before picking up back Friday, when the nation’s capital will play host to its first World Series game since 1933. That will also push “Friday Night SmackDown” to cable network Fox Sports 1.
In 2018, Game 2 of the World Series drew 13.5 million total viewers. That Boston Red Sox-Los Angeles Dodgers series drew the lowest viewer total in four years.