Mets, Royals Opener Puts Up Biggest Ratings Since 2009

14-Inning Nail-Biter Draws Younger Male Viewers

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Credit: Fox Sports Interactive Media

Despite a technical glitch that interrupted the national TV broadcast and five frames of bonus baseball, Game 1 of the 2015 World Series on Fox put up huge numbers.

According to the final live-plus-same-day data, Tuesday night's showdown between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals delivered the strongest ratings for a World Series opener since 2009. Game 1 averaged 14.9 million viewers and a 9.0, up 23% versus last year's analogous broadcast.

It's worth noting that the first game in the year-ago Royals-Giants series holds the dubious distinction of being the lowest-rated Game 1 of the modern television era.

Six years ago, the opening frame of the Yankees-Phillies series averaged 19.5 million viewers and a 11.9 household rating. The Yanks would go on to beat the Phils for the MLB title in a six-game series that remains the most-watched, highest-rated Fall Classic of the last decade.

While ratings guarantees for the World Series are made against households, the demo ratings show that Fox managed to deliver a good deal of younger viewers. With an average rating of a 4.6 among adults 18 to 49, Game 1 drew around 5.83 million members of the marketer-coveted set, which accounted for nearly 40% of the total audience. By way of comparison, only 35% of those who watched the first game of the 2014 World Series were under 50.

Men 18 to 49 were up 40% versus the year-ago game, while men in the 18-to-34 crowd grew 21%. That is a promising portent for marketers wary of baseball's seemingly ever-greying fan base; from a demographic perspective, the 2014 World Series was practically a nursing home built on dirt and grass, drawing an audience with a median age (55.6 years) beyond the oldest relevant TV demo.

Baseball also secured a rare victory against the NFL -- or at least one very prominent prime-time football package. Fox's 9.0 rating out-delivered every installment of ESPN's "Monday Night Football," which is averaging an 8.3 through eight games.

While there's a good chance that Game 2 will deliver even bigger ratings, a pattern that has held in 15 of the last 20 World Series, the same generally can't be said for Games 3 and 4. Thanks to a long-standing scheduling protocol, the fourth game of the Fall Classic is played on Saturday night, when prime-time viewing is at its ebb. TV usage will be particularly anemic this Saturday, as many would-be viewers will be out enabling their fiendishly disguised offspring to beg for candy from strangers.

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