The Royals and Mets played a 5 hour affair, that went past 1 a.m. on the East Coast. That didn’t affect television ratings, as the game drew a 10.5 household overnight rating, which would be the highest for Game 1 since the Yankees played the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009.
Several things played into this. We wondered whether the New York market would get behind the Mets (with far more fans identifying as Yankees fans). For one compelling game, the answer seems yes, as the game drew a healthy 26.2 in the New York market (considering they aren’t the only team in town). And while Kansas City is considered a smaller market, the ratings for the game in KC were a whopping 57.3, the highest single market game rating going back to at least 1996.
Just as importantly, the game had drama. The last three Game 1’s were comfortable wins, with the eventual winner having a 5-0 lead by the end of the 4th inning. The last close contest in game 1 was Rangers-Cardinals in 2011, which had a 10.0 rating. Even though last year’s World Series went to seven games, the average run margin was 5.7 runs in the first six games, before the dramatic Game 7.
The Mets-Royals matchup seems like one that would be suited for close games, with the Mets’ starting pitching and Royals’ bullpen, if the game stays close early. We’ll see if the public momentum for this series builds after a compelling and epic opener.