Royals Wins World Series, But Can’t Beat NFL in Ratings Battle

By Brian Flood 

NBC’s regular-season Sunday Night Football game averaged 23 million viewers, topping baseball’s biggest stage on perhaps the greatest sports TV night of the year. The World Series averaged 17.2 million viewers, but the game didn’t end until 12:30 a.m. ET with a Royals extra-innings, series-clinching victory over the New York Mets.

For Fox, the Major League Baseball championship was the best Game 5 since the 2003 World Series.

PackersSafetyOver on NBC, the Denver Broncos’ 29-10 victory over Green Bay Packers was billed as the biggest regular-season game of the year entering the weekend. Two undefeated teams, with a pair of future Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks squaring off in prime time will always be a ratings draw. But the Packers-Broncos game was the highest-ever for NBC’s SNF in the six times it went head-to-head with the World Series. Last night’s game was the most-watched Week 8 NFL prime time game in 22 years.

The SNF game ended just after 11 p.m. ET. And it appears football viewers went over to baseball, as the Royals-Mets game peaked at a 13.2/22 from 11:00-11:15 p.m. Even World Series play-by-play man Joe Buck realized the World Series would pick up extra viewers once the NFL game ended. “Football’s over. This baseball game dominating the television sets tonight,” Buck said moments after SNF concluded in a statement that was mocked on Twitter.