The San Francisco Giants' four-game sweep over the Detroit Tigers in the 2012 World Series averaged just 12.7 million viewers, marking the least-watched Fall Classic on record, according to Nielsen.
The previous low was the 2008 edition between the Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays, which the Phillies won in five (including a weather-delayed fifth game that spanned over a few days). That series averaged 13.6 million viewers. Last year's World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers, which ran the full seven games, averaged 16.6 million viewers. The 2010 World Series, which also featured these same Giants, averaged 14.2 million viewers.
"This World Series gave us exactly what we expected: a top ten show among all viewers and a top five show among hard-to-reach younger men," said Michael Mulvihill, senior VP of programming and research, Fox Sports Media Group. "It's important for us to remain focused on the Series relative to today's competitive environment rather than bygone years. The World Series remains a powerful force in primetime and we're fortunate to have the Fall Classic for at least nine more years to look forward to."
The low-rated Fall Classic comes weeks after Fox agreed to renew its media rights for the league, for nearly double the price of its current deal.
This year's four-game series still placed No. 2 among men 18-49 (4.7); No. 3 in men 25-54 (5.6); No. 4 with men 18-34 (4.0); tied for No. 6 in adults 18-49 (3.7); tied for No. 8 in adults 18-34 (3.2) and No. 9 among adults 25-54 (4.3).