With a non-U.S. competitor in the World Series for the first time and the slipper off last year’s Cinderella team the Atlanta Braves, the 1992 World Series couldn’t have been expected to score as well as last year’s seven-game classic.
Yet even given those factors, the 20.2 rating, 34 share six-game average is somewhat of a disappointment, as this year’s highest-rated game, the thrilling Saturday-night finale, finished ahead of only two of last year’s games. In fact, the six-game average couldn’t even match what the four-game Cincinnati-Oakland series managed two years ago (20.8/36).
The only all-prime time series to ever get lower ratings is the disastrously rated single-region, earthquake-interrupted ’88 Oakland-San Francisco matchup ( 16.4/29). The lower 1970 Baltimore-Cincinnati series (19.5/53) was an all-daytime event. According to NBC, those are the only two World Series to score lower ratings than this year’s.
The lowest Series rating from 1971 through 1988 was the 22.6/40 earned with the ’84 Detroit-San Diego pairing. The peak for that span was the 32.8/56 grabbed by the ’80 Philadelphia-Kansas City showdown.
A sobering note for baseball is that only one of this year’s Series telecasts managed to equal the rating of last April’s college-basketball championship final, and “Monday Night Football” has already produced one game (Philadelphia-Dallas, Oct. 5, 22.3/36) that outscored all but the last of this year’s World Series games.
Baseball still clearly outscores the pro-basketball playoffs (of which the top rating last June was a 16.0/29), and college football, which in four years hasn’t had a higher-rated prime time telecast than the 18.5/29 earned by the Colorado-Notre Dame Orange Bowl matchup Jan. 1, 1990. Television’s top sports draw continues to be pro football’s Super Bowl, which last January sacked a 40.3 /61.
World Series champ Toronto did prove an enormous draw north of the border, though those numbers weren’t figured in CBS’ results.