The Chicago Cubs are good TV – that much we know.
Just last week, for example, we learned that their 300% increase in television ratings on Comcast SportsNet from 2014 (1.5 rating) through this season (4.5 rating) was the largest increase in all of baseball – as was their 176% increase on games broadcast from WGN and WPWR over the same time frame.
So if the Cubs are must-watch TV during the regular season (although, given how good they were, that was one of the most irregular, regular seasons ever [Brett: Michael.]), there should be no surprise to learn that they are even more watchable in the playoffs.
Of course, when you match them up with one of the biggest, most popular franchises in all of baseball in a potential clincher/elimination game, odds are TV Watchers are going to come out in droves … and that’s exactly what they did.
According to Danny Ecker on Twitter, Game 4 between the Cubs and the Giants recored 6.3 million viewers – the highest such mark in FS1 history:
Cubs-Giants G4 was highest-rated telecast on FS1 since network launched in 2013. 6.3M viewers beat 5.9M for Astros-Royals '15 ALDS G5.
— Danny Ecker (@DannyEcker) October 12, 2016
And although FS1 isn’t the most widely-dispersed network, that is still quite the achievement. In fact, as Ecker points out, it beat the previous record set by Astros-Royals in Game 5 of the 2013 ALDS (a game that was sure to end with someone going home). Before you argue about market size, remember that the Royals have consistently carried some of the highest TV ratings in baseball for several years now, and Houston is not small.
Although this record only tangentially touches the this is good for a future TV-deal narrative, it’s certainly related. People love the Cubs, people want them to win, and they want to watch them do it live. FS1, it seems, benefited greatly from that.