In front of a Busch Stadium record 47,432 fans, Saturday's 5-4 victory by the Cardinals over the Red Sox – the record-tying 13th one-run game of the 2013 Postseason – drew 12.5 million viewers on FOX, up 19 percent over Game 3 in 2012 and ranking as the most-watched World Series Game 3 since 2009 based on Nielsen Media Research data. FOX averaged a 7.4 fast national rating for the game, up 21 percent over Game 3 in 2012, and leading to a dominant win in primetime, where FOX topped the second place network by 173 percent and beat the other three broadcast networks combined based on metered market ratings.
Overall, the 2013 World Series is averaging 13.4 million viewers through three games, up 15 percent over last year and the highest average through three games since 2010.
That's not entirely surprising. While the Tigers and Giants -- 2012 World Series participants -- have strong fan bases, the Red Sox and Cardinals have very devoted regional and even national followings.
This news, of course, isn't meant to evoke comparisons to NFL ratings, which will always be higher than baseball for a variety of reasons that are only partly owing the relative popularity of the sports in question. The NFL is a national -- as opposed to local-driven MLB -- mostly once-a-week affair that plays in cold-weather months and churns out 10 percent of baseball's schedule. You'd just as soon make the point that MLB sells more total tickets. That is, either comparison is flawed for obvious reasons. The proper takeaway is that the 2013 World Series thus far has arrested a pattern of general decline in TV ratings for MLB's showcase event.
Those who are tuning in are, of course, seeing quite a show.