The final game of the 2017 World Series is yet to be played but Fox has already emerged as a winner.
Going into the post season, executives at 21st Century Fox acknowledged that ad revenues from the playoffs and World Series were unlikely to match last year, which was fueled by the historic Chicago Cubs ending a 108-year championship drought.
Television networks tend to lose money if a seven game series sweeps, break even when a series reaches game 5 and make money on games 6 and, if there is one, cash in on Game 7. Not only is there an extra game’s worth of revenue, but interest and ratings tend to climb when a series goes down to the wire.
Last year, the Cubs and Indians not only went to seven games, but the final game went into extra innings, with a rain delay on top of that, allowing Fox to run an unprecedented number of commercials.
According to Kantar Media, the 2016 World Series generated ad revenues of $409.4 million, up from $240 million the year before when Kansas City beat the New York Mets in just five games.
Related: Primetime Ratings: Fox Wins on Wild World Series Game
With the Dodgers and Astros playing seven games, this year’s World Series revenue could be in last year’s ballpark. Fox pulled out all the stops to generate ad sales, running six-second spots in breaks in the action and wrapping the entire series with a sponsorship by YouTube TV.
Fox also scored in the playoffs as the Yankees and Cleveland played seven games. That series boosted cable network Fox Sports 1 to some of its highest ratings ever. That not only helps ad revenue but gives Fox more leverage with cable operators. The network is one of a handful of channels that is increasing distribution in the face of the cord-cutting trends.
The final score is baseball has been very, very good for Fox this year. It might even make up for the disappointing news that the U.S. won’t be participating in the World Cup.