The Atlanta Braves captured their first World Series championship in over 20 years, and also helped Major League Baseball’s top event recover in terms of ratings.
The 2021 World Series averaged 11.75 million viewers for the Braves’ six-game set against the Houston Astros on Fox Sports. The final game of the series drew 14.3 million total viewers, up from 12.6 million viewers for Game 6 of the 2020 World Series. Fox Sports said the final game drew an average of 13.9 million viewers on TV only.
The Braves beat the Astros 7-0 on Tuesday to win their first World Series since 1995. Braves outfielder Jorge Soler won the World Series MVP after finishing the series with three home runs, six RBIs and finished with a .300 batting average.
The ratings are a significant rebound from last season’s World Series, which capped a season shortened by the Covid-19 pandemic, and saw the Los Angeles Dodgers win their first championship since 1988. That six-game series averaged 9.7 million viewers, and drew only 9.1 million viewers for Game 1 on TV — the least-watched World Series game ever.
The 2019 World Series attracted 23 million viewers for Game 7 between the Astros and Washington Nationals, and drew roughly 13 million viewers on average. That Game 7 also helped Fox bring in over $400 million in total ad revenue, according to AdAge.
The five-game 2018 World Series between the Red Sox and Dodgers drew an average of roughly 14 million viewers, and the Astros’ 2017 World Series win against the Dodgers attracted an average of 18.9 million viewers over seven games.
This season marks the last World Series on Fox’s current deal with MLB worth $4.2 billion. In 2018, the network extended the deal for a reported $5.1 billion and it runs through the 2028 season.
World Series ad trends
Search analytics firm EDO noted a commercial around a fitness machine was among the ads that drew the most curiosity among World Series viewers.
San Francisco-based fitness company Tonal featured basketball star LeBron James in ads for its nearly $3,000 stationary weight-lifting machine. EDO said Tonal had roughly 111,000 searches around its product after those commercials aired.
EDO uses search engagement software to measure online search activity for brands in the minutes following TV ads airing. The company told CNBC ads for Walmart, TikTok, and the upcoming movie “House of Gucci” were among the top searches.
EDO estimates advertisers spent more than $156 million during the 2021 World Series.
Ad firm MediaRadar projected 284 companies advertised during the 2021 World Series, compared to 313 for the last year’s event.
MediaRadar aggregates advertising data from marketers across a multitude of media channels, including TV and online. The company said top-spending advertisers for the 2021 MLB championship include Indeed, Geico, ads for Google Pixel, TikTok, and Dell.