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Baseball in November

2022 Fall Classic Draws 80.37 Million Total Household Viewers

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November 22, 2022
November 22, 2022
 min read

This year, the boys of summer crowned a champion in the brisk air of mid-autumn, partially due to an offseason lockout that pushed Opening Day back a week and resulted in the World Series matching its latest start date in history – October 28. Ultimately, that meant four of the Fall Classic’s six games took place in November, and it could have been five if the championship round needed a seventh game. But competition for viewers from other sports did not deter baseball fans from watching the national pastime’s premier spectacle. The 118th World Series was contested by two clubs who won their pennants in contrasting fashions. After finishing the regular season with the American League’s best record, the Houston Astros entered the postseason as considerable favorites. In addition to their success over 162 games, they also boasted extensive playoff experience, having reached the World Series in three of the previous five seasons – and winning the title in 2017. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies were a bit of a surprise. A new Major League Baseball postseason format featuring six teams per league facilitated the Phillies’ berth, as they secured the final National League Wild Card spot. But by making quick work of St. Louis, Atlanta, and San Diego, they proved they belonged. The opposing storylines – and exceptional play – made for compelling November baseball. We used MVP’s broadcast platform to examine the World Series’ total audience, compare viewership in home markets, and measure the figures against those from recent years. Our analysis found that despite its late start, the 2022 World Series attracted 80.37 million total household viewers, and no region was more invested than the City of Brother Love.

Philadelphia Boosts Broadcast Totals

The Phillies had not qualified for the playoffs since 2011, so their fans were eager to enjoy this year’s postseason ride that culminated in a World Series appearance. And television audiences confirmed the city’s collective excitement. On average, 1.04 million household viewers in the Philadelphia market tuned in to watch the six games against Houston, peaking with 1.11 million for Game 5 when the series was tied at two games apiece. Consequently, the city led all DMAs in total viewership for each game of the World Series. Furthermore, half of the World Series games drew more than 1 million fans in Philadelphia, with two of the other three exceeding 997,000. In Houston, however, the high mark for viewership was 858,357, occurring during the Astros’ clinching Game 6. The Houston market failed to amass 800,000 viewers in each of the first two games of the series, ultimately drawing 805,548 total viewers per game – only 77.8% of Philadelphia’s average.

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Building Suspense Through Five Games

Philadelphia and Houston alternated victories for the first four games of the 2022 World Series. The Phillies snagged Game 1 with a thrilling come-from-behind victory in extra innings before the Astros responded with a comfortable home win in Game 2. Philadelphia again seemingly seized control with a shutout in Game 3, but Houston answered with a combined no-hitter to even the series at two before a pivotal Game 5. After viewership had increased with each passing game – beginning at 12.16 million for Game 1 and building to 14.12 million by Game 4 – the audience peaked during the final matchup at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. A total of 14.39 million household viewers watched Houston wrest control of the series from their National League counterparts with a dramatic 3-2 victory. It was the only game that included sustained concurrent viewership of more than 8 million households, with as many as 8.52 million viewers watching simultaneously. A total of 13.23 million viewers watched Houston clinch its second championship in franchise history two nights later in Game 6, resulting in an average audience of 13.4 million for the 2022 World Series.

World Series Through the Years

Each of the three World Series contested since 2020 has finished in exactly six games, with the Los Angeles Dodgers outlasting the Tampa Bay Rays two years ago and the Atlanta Braves overcoming the favored Astros last year before Houston redeemed itself with a victory over Philadelphia earlier this month. We used MVP’s platform to compare Fall Classics of the 2020s and found this year’s showcase ranked second in total viewership, attracting an audience equal to 93.1% of last year’s 86.29 million viewers. The 2022 World Series had more viewers through four games, but an average of 16.91 million for the final two games of the 2021 spectacle – compared to just 13.81 million for Games 5 and 6 this year – tipped the scales. Each of the most recent World Series, however, exceeded total viewership from the Dodgers’ victory in 2020, which drew a total audience of only 67.54 million.

On a DMA basis, Philadelphia performed remarkably throughout its hometown team’s losing effort. Its 1.04 million viewers per game trails only Los Angeles in 2020 – which earned 1.61 million – among local DMAs for World Series participants in the past three seasons. Houston’s average of 805,548 viewers during the 2022 World Series was a 2.3% year-over-year decline from when its Astros competed in the 2021 Fall Classic against Atlanta. However, it was 4.26x higher than the DMA drew two years ago when the Astros were eliminated prior to reaching the sport’s biggest stage. Philadelphia’s average this year was 2.76x higher than its cumulative average from 2020 and 2021 when the Phillies failed to reach the postseason altogether.

Counting the Days Until Spring

When the final out of the 2022 World Series landed in Kyle Tucker’s glove to secure victory for the Astros, fans across Houston rejoiced while all other Major League Baseball teams began counting down the days until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training next February. In the meantime, celebrations in H-Town will continue, the Phillies will eye improvements necessary to return to the Fall Classic next year, and the rest of the league will begin work toward achieving their aspirations for 2023. Stay connected with MVP in the coming months as we preview another season of America’s pastime and provide unique broadcast and social insights into the league’s 30 clubs.

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