Cubs' victory appears to be most-watched World Series Game 7 in 25 Years

An estimated 40 million viewers tuned in for the epic 10-inning, rain-delayed battle.

It was a massive victory for both the Chicago Cubs, with its first World Series victory in 108 years, and Fox, which reaped the benefits of a seven-game series. A projected 40 million viewers were present for the nearly five-hour finale on Wednesday. 

The Cubs’ 8 to 7 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday scored an estimated 25.2 household rating in the 56-metered markets from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. ET, besting Game 6 on Tuesday of this week (14.8 rating) by 70%. That 14.8 overnight rating for Game 6 translated into 23.4 million viewers and a 6.6 rating/22 share in adults 18-49, based on the Live + Same Day data from Nielsen, making it the most-watched Game 6 of any World Series since 1997 (when the Florida Marlins faced the Indians).

Factor in the considerable overnight household rating growth, and this final extra inning matchup should result in an audience of about 40 million viewers. That means this could end up being the most-watched Game 7 of any World Series since 50.3 million people tuned in to see Minnesota vs. Atlanta in 1991. If the final tally falls short of 39.1 million, it will be the most-watched since the New York Yankees faced the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001.

Historically, the most-watched World Series game was the Phillies/Royals Game 6 matchup in 1980, with 54.86 million viewers. The most-watched Game 7 was the Reds/Red Sox matchup at 51.56 million in 1975. More recently, the Royals' Game 5 victory over the Mets last year netted just 17.21 million viewers on Fox.

Despite the baseball onslaught, the night was a true victory for network television, with the "50th Annual CMA Awards" pulling a 7.7 rating/12 share in the household overnights from 8 to 11 p.m. Comparably, that was just 6% short of the 8.2/13 on the same evening a year ago, which resulted in 13.62 million viewers. Combined with Fox, and a projected 54 million viewers will have been watching baseball or the "CMA Awards" last night.

CBS and NBC ducked the competition, with CBS broadcasting an encore telecast of "Criminal Minds" and NBC replacing its original line-up with encore telecasts of "Law & Order: SVU" and "Chicago PD."

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