It was on a cold evening in Wrigley Field on Sunday, October 30, 2016, that established once and for all that baseball rules and that the team from the Friendly Confines rules the sporting interest in America. As the North Siders provided all of the excitement in trying to stay alive against the Cleveland Indians, as they faced elimination in Game 5 of the 2016 World Series, the audience of America tuned in.
On Sunday evening, the Chicago Cubs vs the Cleveland Indians drew an estimated average 21.539 million viewers who stayed with the game from beginning until the end when Chapman came in and locked down their second win of this World Series. What is significant about this was that at the very same time, on a competing broadcast network, the team that called themselves ‘America’s Team’ were out drawn by the Cubs as Dallas could only muster an estimated average 16.825 million viewers. That represented a difference in favor of baseball of 4.714 million viewers.
And it wasn’t as if the football game was a blow out. Not to offend the magnificent Cleveland Indians, but a close game featuring the Cubbies for the first time in a World Series since 1945 with the possibility of winning the Series for the first time in over 100 years, overwhelmed the football game which was a tight game featuring two of the better teams in the NFL this season.
While pro football seems like it is slipping a bit with massive overexposure, baseball with the Cubs and Indians are revitalizing America’s youth. Proof? It pulled in a 6.3 rating in the coveted 18-49 demographic vs only 6.1 rating for football which featured two teams with big fan bases. And, couldn’t Philadelphia vs Dallas for the divisional lead prevail?
Sunday was baseball’s night. But in truth, it was placing the crown of ‘America’s Team’ squarely on the shoulders of those lovable Cubbies from the North Side of the City that Works.