Los Angeles Dodgers Mookie Betts # 50 hits a home run in the sixth inning of the first inning of the 2020 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Globe Life Field on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 in Arlington, Texas.
Kelly Gavin | Major League Baseball | Getty Images
The Los Angeles Dodgers' appearance in the top Major League Baseball event failed to save the league from the effects of a drop in sports viewers.
The first game in the Dodgers series against the Tampa Bay Rays drew 9.1 million viewers, Fox Sports said. The game was the most watched program on Tuesday, but it also became the least-watched World Series game of all time – or at least since Nielsen began following ratings in 1968.
The last time the attendance figures for a World Series competition fell below 10 million was Game 3 in 2008, when the Rays played against the Philadelphia Phillies (9.8 million viewers). This game was affected by a 90 minute rain delay.
The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead after an 8-3 win on Tuesday as the team headed for their first championship since 1988. The World Series doesn't alternate between teams' home stadiums as usual, but instead takes place at Global Life Field in Arlington, Texas when MLB switched to a postseason due to the coronavirus pandemic pandemic.
When the Dodgers last reached the World Series against the Boston Red Sox in 2018, Game One drew 13.8 million viewers. Last year's World Series opener between the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros drew 12.1 million viewers for the first game.
The dugout reacts as Eduardo Nunez # 36 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates his triple home run during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first game of the 2018 World Series at Fenway Park on October 23, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts.
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On Tuesday, the network also reported that 9.7 million viewers saw the seventh game of the National League Championship Series on Fox and its FS1 channel. The Dodgers overcame a 3-1 deficit against Liberty Media's Atlanta Braves to advance to the World Series.
By comparison, Fox's TV broadcast of game seven of the 2017 American League Championship Series featuring the New York Yankees and Houston Astros drew 9.9 million viewers.
The second game of the World Series will take place on Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. Easter time. The series takes a one-day break on Thursday before resuming for the third game on Friday.