It's very odd to write a World Series ratings post following Keith Olbermann's well-done monologue with regard to the history of sagging numbers for the Fall Classic. Especially when, you know, those numbers end up being... not so great. The World Series kicked off with something of a thud on Wednesday.
Game 1 between the Cardinals and Red Sox drew a 9.4 overnight rating. That was up seven percent from 2012, which is good news, since that was the lowest-rated World Series ever. It is, however, still lower than Game 1 in both 2011 (9.6 for Cardinals-Rangers) and 2010 (10.4 for Rangers-Giants).
The game peaked in the second inning, when Pete Kozma's unfathomable error led to a big inning from Boston. Fox's rating peaked at 11.2 during that time frame. Things dipped from there, as the Sox rolled easily to a Game 1 blowout behind the work of Jon Lester.
I'll get killed by a lot of baseball fans for writing this, but let's look at how bad this is. It will likely go down as the third-least watched Game 1 of the World Series ever, beating only last year's Tigers-Giants and 2006's Tigers-Cardinals. Also, it got beaten by what some called "the worst Monday Night Football game ever." That's right, Vikings-Giants drew a 9.5 overnight, higher than Game 1. However, in a moral victory over the NFL, the game barely drew a higher total viewership. 14.4 million viewers for World Series Game 1 compared to 13.2 million for Vikings-Giants.
That said, an 11.2 overnight early on suggests that people would've been willing to stick around with a good game. If MLB had kept on that pace, the ratings might have been more in the range of, say, 2009's Phillies-Yankees series than last year's Tigers-Giants.
So overall, there's not a lot of room to go anywhere but up for this year's World Series. If tonight's Game 2 is competitive, ratings will rise, possibly by a very large amount. If it isn't, especially in favor of the Red Sox... things may take a turn for the worse yet again.
It becomes more and more pointless to compare ratings (for anything) to past years. The fact is, the game beat everything else on TV last night and crushed anything else Fox airs, save for the NFL & American Idol.
2 weeks ago, the ALCS crushed NASCAR's playoffs. Last week, it crushed Clemson/Florida State & all other college football. Baseball is fine.