Fewer baseball fans tuned in to see the San Francisco Giants sweep the Detroit Tigers in this year's World Series than any other edition of the Major League Baseball fall classic, according to data from Nielsen and News Corp.'s Fox network, which broadcast the event.
An average of 12.7 million viewers tuned in to see the four-game sweep, including two games in which the Tigers failed to score a run. The previous record-holder for the least-watched World Series was the 2008 event, when an average of 13.6 million watched the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Tampa Bay Rays in five games.
Fans may have been less than interested in a quick, decisive series in which the Giants handily dominated the Tigers. And viewers on the East Coast may have been distracted by preparations for Hurricane Sandy, which loomed large as the Giants won the fourth game Sunday.
Fox said 15.5 million people tuned in to the extra-innings fourth game, a 2% uptick from last year's average viewership of Game 4, which was 15.2 million.
The network said the Series helped it trump many competitors in the ongoing race for viewers between 18 and 49, and that the 2012 Series was the ninth most-watched event by 18-49 viewers this year.
"It's important for us to remain focused on the Series relative to today's competitive environment rather than bygone years," said Michael Mulvihill, senior VP-programming and research, Fox Sports Media Group, in a statement. "The World Series remains a powerful force in prime time," he added.