Chicago ratings go on a roller coaster ride; ratings drop for fourth game
The Chicago Cubs may have been swept out of the playoffs by the New York Mets, but Turner Sports was really the big winner in the series.
The National League Championship Series between teams from two of the largest markets in the country brought in a record audience for baseball on TBS.
According to Nielsen, TBS drew an average of 7.9 million viewers for the four-game series, up 55 percent in total viewers from last year’s comparable ALCS game on TBS between the Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals. The Mets-Cubs series was the most watched LCS series on any network since 2010.
TBS drew the biggest audience of the series with Game 3, drawing 9.2 million eyeballs.
Locally, the Cubs series drew the largest audience for baseball in Chicago since the 2005 White Sox playoff run, which cultivated in a World Series Championship. But with the sweep, ratings trended downward as viewers bailed when it became clear the Mets were going to take out the Cubs quickly.
Wednesday night’s Game 4 averaged only a 18.9 household rating locally, down 25 percent from the previous night’s Game 3.
The series in Chicago tracked like this: 20.6 -> 19.0 -> 25.1 -> 18.9. The numbers were lower than they were for the 2003 NLCS series when the Cubs played the Marlins, but keep in mind the series aired on the Fox broadcast network as opposed to cable, and television ratings measurement was different back then.
Despite the sweep, the Cubs delivered strong ratings for two of its new media partners, WLS-TV and WBBM-AM (780 AM) and boosted those for its existing partners, WGN-TV and Comcast SportsNet. With the White Sox departing WSCR-AM (The Score) for WLS-AM next season, the Cubs will now shift to the all sports-talk station. The biggest loser of course, is WGN-AM, who wanted out of its Cubs contract and made what is now one of the biggest blunders in Chicago media history.
The New York Mets now meet the Kansas City Royals in the World Series beginning Tuesday on Fox. The Royals beat the Toronto Blue Jays in a 1985 rematch of the ALCS. Just like in ’85, the Royals beat the Jays to advance to the World Series. The meeting between the two teams set record-ratings low for ALCS, thanks in part for all but one of the series airing on FS1 (aka Fox Sports 1.)
The 1985 ALCS and NLCS aired on NBC; the World Series on ABC.
(Updated at 17:20 on 2015-10-26)