Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw did his thing on the bump. Former AL MVP Mookie Betts drove in multiple runs as Los Angeles defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of the World Series Tuesday evening. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like many people were watching it. TV ratings Tuesday evening represented the lowest figure in World Series history.

Game 1 of Rays-Dodgers World Series posts worst TV ratings of all-time

“Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series (Rays-Dodgers) averaged 9.20 million viewers on FOX (9.48M including Fox Deportes and streaming), marking the least-watched game in the history of the event. The previous low was 9.84 million for Phillies-Rays Game 3 in 2008, a Saturday night game that began after 10 PM ET due to rain. Ratings were not immediately available,” Sports Media Watch noted on Wednesday.

While MLB TV ratings have not been impacted too much by the lack of interest in sports during the ongoing pandemic, this certainly is not great news for MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and Co.

The World Series in Arlington does include a limited number of fans in attendance. Even then, MLB is relying on corporate sponsorship and ad revenue to make for the lack of in-game attendance this season.

Sports TV ratings have been down a great deal since live action games returned after a several-month hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NBA Finals ratings drew record lows

  • Game 1 of the Lakers-Heat NBA Finals series drew just 7.41 million viewers on ABC, the lowest total in the history of the Finals.
  • Game 3 of the same NBA Finals series drew 5.94 million viewers. That topped Game 1 as the lowest-rated game in NBA Finals history.
  • Overall, TV ratings during the 2020 NBA Playoffs were down an alarmingly high amount. However, it must be noted that the NBA Playoffs went up against the NFL regular season for the first time ever.

NFL ratings amid the national anthem protests

Another major backdrop to sports ratings has to be the ongoing national anthem protests following the murder of George Floyd back on May 25. Given that these protests are taking place in an election year, the divisive nature of them adds another layer to this.

The NFL has been no different. Let’s just look at “Sunday Night Football” as a major example.

A total of eight “Sunday Night Football” game last season had north of 20 million viewers tune in. Obviously, we’re seeing a steep decline here.

Sports TV ratings and national anthem protests

Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions players demonstrate in Week 1
Sep 13, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Chicago Bears offensive tackle Bobby Massie (70) and offensive tackle Charles Leno Jr. (72) kneel with their team during a video story before the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

At this point, it’s safe to assume that there’s some correlation between protests and fewer people tuning in to team sporting events. The three major professional sports leagues in North America add another layer to this.

MLB: Pretty much one of the biggest protest-related shocks around the sports world was when every team in MLB took part in a form of protests during the national anthem. It took place opening week and shocked the masses.

As for the World Series, it will be interesting to see how the remaining games do when it comes to TV ratings. Right now, it’s not looking great.

Vincent Frank
Editor here at Sportsnaut. Contributor at Forbes. Previous bylines include Bleacher Report, Yahoo!, SB Nation. Heard on ESPN Radio and NBC Sports Radio. Northern California native living it up in Las Vegas. The Keto lifestyle. Traveler. Reader. TV watcher. Dog daddy. Sam Malone = greatest TV character ever. "Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary," John Keating.