Given the way things have gone for the Cubs (or rather, the networks broadcasting the Cubs) this whole season – and especially this October – I don’t think there will be any surprise surrounding the explosive ratings the Cubs and Indians have drawn in this, the 2016 World Series.
After an enormous number of fans watched Game 1 in Cleveland, another staggering number of fans checked in for Game 2:
Fox draws 11.3 overnight rating last night for Cubs-Indians. Like Game 1, marks best World Series Game 2 since Phils-Yanks drew 13.6 in 2009
— Austin Karp (@AustinKarp) October 27, 2016
Indeed, the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians World Series Game 2 drew the highest rating for a Game 2 in the past seven years. And considering the Philadelphia and New York markets, that’s quite an accomplishment. In fact, considering the dramatic difference in television habits over the past seven years, I’d say that’s downright astonishing.
But it doesn’t really end there. In fact, it gets even more impressive. Against some tough Sunday Night Football competition, Game 5 of the World Series once again glued a ton of fans to their TVs:
World Series Game 5 (15.3 overnight rating) beat Cowboys-Eagles overtime game last night by 32% (11.6 for Sunday Night Football)
— Austin Karp (@AustinKarp) October 31, 2016
According to Joe Lucia, last night’s Game 5 beat Sunday Night Football for the first time since 2013 – which becomes more impressive when you consider the teams (Red Sox and Cardinals).
While they’re might not be a ton of immediate, direct, and/or obvious impacts for the Cubs, we all know how crucial a large TV audience is for the future of the franchise. Both TV deals are set to expire at the end of the 2019 season, and the mega-TV deal market is thought to be bubbling. If the Cubs hope to set up their own Cubs Network with a service provider or network partner (the prevailing wisdom), they’ll have to negotiate those deals now.
Thus, huge ratings this season and postseason truly are meaningful.
So, keep watching, Cubs fans, you might just be setting up the Cubs for a huge pay day, come 2020 – just before a few of your favorite young Cubs will be headed towards free agency.