The presidential election isn’t diminishing interest in the World Series.
Sunday night’s head-to-head contest for eyeballs between America’s (former) pastime and America’s team resulted in a decisive win for baseball.
Via Austin Karp of SportsBusiness Journal, Game Five of the World Series between the Indians and Cubs beat the regular-season Eagles-Cowboys game by 32 percent in overnight ratings. Baseball generated a 15.3; football drew an 11.6.
Six years ago, the first time the NFL opted to challenge MLB’s marquee event, Steelers at Saints won decisively in a matchup against the Rangers and the Giants, 11.8 vs. 10.4.
Sure, the 2016 World Series features a pair of very-long-suffering teams and fan bases, and Sunday night’s game could have clinched a second championship in less than six months for Cleveland. Regardless of those circumstances, football has been the king of all sports TV, with the NFL’s regular season regularly beating baseball’s postseason and the NFL’s preseason routinely trouncing baseball’s regular season.
The key words, at least for now, are “has been.” The question is whether the NFL will twiddle thumbs or attempt to determine how best to recapture its suddenly disappearing dominance.
The temptation will be to treat 2016 as an aberration. The good news is that 2016 numbers have lowered the bar, for the purposes of week-to-week comparisons to be made in 2017.
The bad news is that current-year comparisons with other sports will become the truer test. On a pass/fail basis, the NFL’s annual World Series challenge generated a big, fat F for football.