Fox’s World Series Magic Continues With Strong Game 5

Philadelphia’s 8-6 win over The New York Yankees on Monday night drew 17.1 million viewers to Fox, making it the most-watched Game 5 of a World Series in six years.

The Phillies put a damper on a late Yankees rally, denying the Bombers’ bid for a three-game road sweep and forcing a Wednesday night meeting in the Bronx. This marks the first time since 2003 that the Fall Classic has gone as deep as Game 6.

Over the course of Fox’ 12-season stewardship of the World Series, the network has broadcast two six-game tilts (1996, 2003) and a pair of seven-game shootouts (2001, 2002). The Yankees were involved in two of those four series, losing in seven to the Arizona Diamondbacks in ‘01 and falling to the Florida Marlins in six (2003).

Last night’s game delivered an 8 percent larger viewership than the two-night average of Game 5 of the 2008 Rays-Phillies Series, which was interrupted by rain on Oct. 27 before resuming the following evening. The bifurcated clincher averaged 15.8 million viewers.

As it has throughout the Series, Philadelphia topped all markets, notching a 41.0/56 rating/share. Divided loyalties––The Yankees share the DMA with The Mets––contributed to  the New York market’s lesser 28.7/42.

Through the first five games, the Yankees-Phillies bout is averaging 18.7 million total viewers, up 36.5 percent from last year’s historic low (13.7 million).

Game 5 faced competition in ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Per Nielsen live-plus-same-day ratings data, 12.4 million viewers watched the New Orleans Saints match their best start in franchise history, going a perfect 7-0 with a 35-27 home victory over division rival Atlanta.

Through the first eight weeks of the 2009 NFL campaign, ESPN’s nine MNF telecasts are averaging 14.4 million viewers, up 18 percent from this time last season.