World Series beats NFL in head-to-head showdown, as expected

2022 World Series Game 5: Houston Astros v. Philadelphia Phillies
Getty Images

On Thursday night, Philadelphia hosted Houston in baseball, and Houston hosted Philadelphia in football. More people locally and nationally watched baseball, for three important reasons.

One, it was Game Five of the World Series. Two, the football game was a run-of-the-mill regular-season contest that was expected to be a mismatch (but, for a while, wasn’t). Three, and perhaps most importantly, the baseball game was televised nationally, and the football game was not.

The NFL’s long-term pivot to streaming will have short-term costs. Via Joe Lucia of AwfulAnnouncing.com, the latest example came from Fox getting 12.768 million viewers for the pivotal World Series contest, and Amazon getting only 7.855 million viewers for Eagles-Texans.

In Houston, the World Series drew a local rating of 25.5, according to Austin Karp of Sports Business Journal. The NFL game generated a 1.5 on local TV. (People in Houston could also stream the game on Amazon, so others presumably watched it that way. It’s unclear how many, but presumably not as many as watched it on local TV.)

Again, it’s not a surprise. The NFL has made the switch to streaming both to adjust to changing viewing habits from TV to streaming, and to accelerate that ongoing shift. (It also helps to get paid roughly $1 billion per year to do it.)

The real question is whether streaming ever will generate the viewership that the various three-letter networks realized over the past decade on Thursdays. Even as Amazon tries to will the current high-water mark toward 12 million per year on a regular basis (that’s clearly not happening), the long-term trend regarding post-TV NFL ratings is TBD.

While pro football continues to be the one product that can gather a live audience like nothing else, the size of that audience may continue to shrink as the overall audience continues to fracture — and as more effort (and money) is needed to find and watch the NFL’s product.

42 responses to “World Series beats NFL in head-to-head showdown, as expected

  1. I have no streaming service nor cable so I only watch local TV for sports. I don’t think I’m alone.

  2. As a Brit these seem incredibly small figures, something you would see for a UK programme not from a country with ten times more people. Do you guys really like football?

  3. I just hate everything about the Amazon nfl games that I can’t watch. Kirk is so boring to listen too, the pregame/halftime broadcast team is cringy and corny. It’s so bad I refuse to watch.

  4. “More effort and money” to watch? It’s waaaay easier and more reliable than DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket ever was. Not to mention it’s a way better product. The production (pre-game/post-game, in-game announcing, graphics, camerawork, etc) is better than any of the three letter networks too. I’d rather see Amazon get Monday night games over ESPN, whose production sucks an egg. The only knock on Thursday night games is the matchups haven’t been that good.

  5. The Michaels/Herbstreit pairing on Amazon is bad. I get wanting the Michaels name but you’re getting a worn out version of him and paired him with a college football guy. It doesn’t work.

  6. On a Thursday with Philly fans knowing their team will win football, bt no so sure about Baseball. Baseball a dying sport that will be replaced by soccer as the third most popular in the nation in the next 10 years.

    Professional Sports Ranking -2032 Projection
    1. NFL Football
    2. NBA Basketball (depite Kyrie)
    3. UEFA Soccer (thanks Ted)
    4. MLS Soccer
    5. NHL Hockey
    6. MLB Basball

  7. Free TV always wins out-by the way what happened to my “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown”………………..

  8. Apples and oranges. You can’t compare an event on a network station being braodcast nationally to an internet streaming feed.Bowling Green vs Marshall would have beat the NFL if it was on CBS at 8 pm on Thursday night and the NFL was an internet stream.

  9. I’m not a baseball fan and until now wasn’t even sure who is (was?) in the World Series, but for a change I don’t blame anybody for watching that over an NFL game that nobody expected to be good at any time.

    Remember when Thursday Night Football was only on NFL Network, you couldn’t even get the channel on a lot of cable providers, and after a few years of FOMO you found out it wasn’t so great after all? Prime time deserves good games, and on days you can’t flex that means matchups with stars and/or rivals. Eagles-Texans isn’t that.

  10. Also need to include that, by and large, Thursday night games are usually awful regardless of the teams that play, and most aren’t worth watching because of that.
    You simply don’t get good football games when teams have played just four days ago.

  11. What would you expect? Streaming tv wants to nickel and dime you for something you could watch a year ago without any extra charge to your package. I’m not paying extra for something I already have. I enjoyed the World Series.

  12. Also, I’ve been feeling like I’m wasting 3 1/2 hours watching football games that eventually get decided by the refs. I’m not watching the game because I enjoy seeing refs make those determinations. I’ve been watching football for over 50 years, and I very seldom missed a game. Now I don’t care if I miss games. You only have so many years to live. Don’t want to waste them. I can live with bad calls, but they’re not missing calls. They’re manipulating TV ratings by keeping games within reach. No thank you. Just let the players and coaching determine that. There are lots of greedy people, but that doesn’t bother me. But I’m not wasting my time. That belongs to me. I don’t get those wasted hours back. And then they’re pretending like they’re trying. That’s an insult to our intelligence. Sorry. Find someone else.

  13. As much as I love NFL football, I have never needed a game on Thursday night. This was forced on us by the league, for the sake of money, as usual.

  14. Not a fair comparison. Let’s see the WS compared to the Super Bowl. Or even the Super Bowl half time show or even the Super Bowl commercials. Or even the people … well you get the point lol.

  15. Watching on Amazon is kind of a pain, because if you want to flip to something on TV for a bit and then flip back, it’s a much more involved and time-consuming procedure than when watching on TV.

    The NFL should add two more bye weeks for each team and only have teams coming off of a bye eligible to play on Thursday.

  16. The NFL product is horrible right now. I think it’s funny Goodell’s
    little minions just regurgitate rhetoric and ignore the actual product.

  17. steelcurtainn says:
    November 5, 2022 at 10:47 am
    Not a surprise to me. The Nfl has been on the decline for years.

    10Rate This

    ——————-

    But, but, but! Goodell’s kiddies don’t get that. They think because a lot of money is being made, the league is on the rise. They ignored the ratings drops in 2016 and 2017, too. That was after Goodell was caught cheating in a federal court.

  18. No big deal…just another “Throwaway Thursday” game by the NFL that probably wouldn’t have done much better if the game were on regular TV…

  19. When Pro Sports starts with the Paid Subscriptions to watch their games,…. that’s when I say STOP !! The greed is too much.
    I refuse to pay Amazon $150 to watch NFL Football on Thursdays,.. I’M OUT!

  20. Like it or not, the league is less interesting when the Packers, Patriots, Steelers, and Buccaneers with Tom Brady all struggle. Some teams are more enjoyable to watch than others.

  21. The WS is a great matchup this year. However, the NFL will always bring in more money.

  22. Teams should start protesting Thursday night games like they did with the pro bowl. Patty cake no tackling using backups. I think Thursday night is bad for the players of the nfl and is generally a bad product out out by the nfl. Have more Saturday night games instead, the hell with college football.

  23. The amazon games are too jumpy on the screen, they give me a headache. I have youtube tv and never experience that on other games so its not my tv or my wifi….

    Plus the games are terrible and its hard to switch back and forth to other channels like somebody said.

  24. The ‘in stadium’ audio sounds weird compared to the other networks. almost too quiet.

  25. For what it’s worth, Amazon broadcasts all their games for free on twitch.tv (Amazon’s streaming site), you don’t need to pay for Amazon Prime to watch the games

  26. It’s been a very entertaining baseball postseason, plus the bonus of having at least one team that hasn’t been to the World Series in a little while means that this year is likely more interesting to a lot of people. The major test will be if there’s a Game 7 that goes up against Titans/Chiefs, it’s unfortunate that might happen because I would really love to watch both.

  27. Does nobody in here realize that Thursday Night Football is on Twitch, for free? Every week? With both the regular and the next gen stream?

  28. I watched last week…on delay. Mid 4th quarter, I hit my phone upside down (my dog ate my remote thus app on phone) and left Amazon by accident. I go back and they say the content is not available. WHAT? I recorded the game. I did the check mark. I went to that folder or whatever it’s called and again, content not available. So WHY tell me I can record it? I DID watch it on delay and if I leave I’m not allowed back in?
    So I didn’t watch this week. Not to mention the weird jumpy crap and soap opera look. I’m getting less interested every year. I can’t be the only one.

  29. That’s a lot of people turning into a bad baseball game where one team is getting smoked

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