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TV Ratings: Cubs Win World Series in Front of Massive Audience

UPDATED: After 108 years, the Curse of the Billy Goat is no more. And 40.05 million people watched it break Wednesday night. The last game of 2016’s series also pulled in a 12.6 rating in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic. Nearly 40% of the TVs in use last night were tuned to the game on Fox.

To borrow a phrase from a beloved “SNL” character, the final game of the Chicago Cubs-Cleveland Indians World Series had everything: A fiery young team blowing a lead close to the end of the game. A 17-minute rain delay. 176 years’ worth of World Series Championship drought. A curse over a goat.

No longer.

This is the biggest World Series Game 7 audience since 1991. The official breaking of the curse beat out the final game of 2001, when the Arizona Diamondbacks clinched the title over the New York Yankees (39.08 million) and the last game of 1997’s Florida Marlins-Cleveland Series (37.99 million). The biggest Game 7 of the last 25 years was 1991, which drew 50.34 million viewers to CBS to watch the Minnesota Twins beat the Atlanta Braves.

The game didn’t end until around well past midnight on the East Coast, thanks to a slight rain delay and an extra inning. The 17 minutes of rain delay don’t appear in those final ratings, per Nielsen policy.

The seven-game average audience for this series, 22.85 million, also makes the 2016 World Series the most-watched since 2004’s Boston Red Sox sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals to break their own 86-year Curse of the Bambino (four-game average of 25.39 million).

There were other things airing opposite the World Series, though NBC went entirely into repeats and CBS only had a new “Survivor.” Here’s how everything else fared:

ABC had the misfortune of airing the CMA Awards, one of its bigger, immovable, non-Oscars or Emmy awards shows. And yet it held up surprisingly well against the Cubs-Indians ratings vortex, possibly thanks to a Beyoncé performance with the Dixie Chicks. The CMA Awards drew a 2.9 in the demo and 12.5 million viewers.

“Survivor” pulled in a 1.6 in the demo and 6.93 million.

On The CW, a new “Arrow” garnered 1.61 million viewers and a 0.6 in the demo, off just a tick from last week. “Frequency” brought in a 0.3 and 910,000 viewers.

As a reminder, particularly in this case, many of the originals here will see ratings lifts of 50% or more once viewership within three or seven days is tallied. Most of that lift won’t translate to the guarantees networks make advertisers, though.

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