The Texas Rangers staged a dramatic ninth-inning, come-from-behind rally last night to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 in Game 2 of the 2011 World Series, knotting the series at 1-1, and almost 20 million people watched it unfold on FOX.
World Series Game 2 scored a strong 8.9/14 household rating/share, with 14.3 million viewers, +5% higher compared to Game 2 of the 2010 World Series (8.5/14, 14.1 million viewers), and ties for the highest-rated program for the night according to fast national ratings released by Nielsen Media Research.
This is the first time since the 2002 World Series – the last seven-game series – that the first two Fall Classic games have been decided by one-run and the first time in four years that Game 2 rated higher than Game 1. Through the first two games, the 2011 World Series on FOX is averaging an 8.8/14 with 14.2 million viewers, up +1% over last year’s 8.7/15 (14.6 million viewers).
The World Series powered FOX to a first place finish in prime time for the second straight night averaging an 8.7 in households (8:00 – 11:00 PM ET) beating CBS (7.8), ABC (4.8) and NBC (1.9). Last night’s ratings win gave the network its best Thursday night rating since the May 19 edition of American Idol and for the second straight night awarded FOX a prime-time victory among Adults 18-49 (3.9) and Adults 18-34 (3.4). Since 1996, FOX Sports has televised 70 World Series games and won the night in households 60 times (86%).
Last night’s broadcast opened with a 6.2 (9.7 million viewers) from 8:00-8:30 PM ET and grew steadily throughout the night, peaking at an 11.8 with 19.4 million viewers as the Rangers rallied from 11:00-11:11 PM, dwarfing the second most-watched show of the night (Big Bang Theory, 14.7 million) by 32%.
St. Louis once again led all markets averaging a 49.4/66, while Dallas placed second averaging a postseason high 34.4/53, +1% from Game 1 and +11% compared to 2010 WS Game 2 (30.9).
Regional interest for the Cardinals and Rangers remains strong, driving above average viewership in several peripheral markets: Kansas City (15.3/24), Milwaukee (10.8/16) Memphis (12.3/18); Austin (15.8/26), San Antonio (14.5/21) and Oklahoma City (11.1/17).
The action shifts to the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, TX on Saturday with exclusive coverage of Game 3 on FOX beginning at 7:30 PM ET.