Red Sox Drive Solid World Series Ratings

Fall Classic rebounds from last year’s low-water mark

In clinching their third World Series title in 10 years, the Boston Red Sox helped Fox post solid, if unspectacular, ratings.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, Wednesday night’s clincher delivered a series-best 19.2 million viewers, an 11.5 household rating and a 5.7 with adults 18-49. The latter marks Fox’s highest prime time rating in the dollar demo since the Season 12 premiere of American Idol drew a 6.0 on Jan. 16.

All told, the Sox-Cardinals showdown averaged 15 million total viewers, a 9.0 HH rating and a 4.3 in the demo. That topped last year’s four-game Giants-Tigers series (an historic low 12.7 million viewers/7.6 HH rating), the five game Giants-Rangers series in 2010 (14.3 million/8.4) and the soggy Rays-Phillies marathon of 2008 (13.6 million/8.4).

Oddly enough, Fox’s Fall Classic ratings have been a game of Chutes and Ladders for the last nine years running. Going back to 2005, every year ratings took a tumble, they bounced right back the very next year. (The sequential differentials are as follows: +8 percent, -21 percent, +43 percent, -26 percent, +16 percent, -24 percent, +18 percent.)

Boston and St. Louis in 2004 also figured in Fox’s all-time most-watched World Series, as the Sox broke its 86-year streak of futility in front of an average national TV audience of 25.4 million fans. The four-game sweep drew a 15.8 HH rating, Fox’s second highest-rated series since the 1996 Yankees-Braves nail-biter drew a 17.4. (In taking the series in six games, the Bronx Bombers claimed their first MLB title in 18 years.)

The all-time most-watched, highest-rated Fall Classic featured the nation’s top two DMAs. The Yankees’ 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in October 1978 drew a staggering 44.3 million viewers and a 32.8 HH rating on NBC.

As expected, Boston led all local markets with a gargantuan 55.2 rating/75 share, which translates into three-quarters of Beantown’s TV homes tuning into the deciding game. The DMA peaked with a 59.5/84 between 11 and 11:30 p.m. EDT.

The Sox’ Triple A affiliate, Providence, was No. 2 among local markets (44.1/61), while St. Louis took third with a 37.9/55.

While Red Sox fans may be growing accustomed to winning the title that was once so long denied them, they still were, um, exuberant in victory. In time-honored fashion, at least one car was flipped over by boisterous boosters on Boylston Street.