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EDO Team November 28, 2023 3 min read

Curveball: 2023 World Series Drives Strong Ad Engagement Despite Low Ratings

The old saying “you can’t judge a book by its cover” is the perfect way to describe Major League Baseball’s 2023 World Series for advertisers.

In terms of total viewership, this year’s “Fall Classic” was hardly classic. An average of 9.1 million viewers tuned in to FOX for the Texas Rangers’ five-game triumph over the Arizona Diamondbacks — the lowest total since Nielsen began tracking those figures in the 1960s. 

But the viewers who did watch this Series were highly engaged with the ads they saw. According to an analysis from EDO, viewers of this year’s Series were 37% more likely to engage with advertising brands online in the minutes after an ad aired than the broadcast and primetime average — and 17% more likely to engage with ads than the audience for the 2022 World Series.

Not bad for a couple of so-called small-market teams that lack the national fanbases of clubs like the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, or Cubs.

This season’s MLB ads were more effective than those that ran during 2022

Despite the low World Series ratings, 2023 had a number of bright spots for Major League Baseball and its advertising partners.

Because viewers of this year’s Series were so engaged with its advertisers, the 2023 Fall Classic delivered nearly as much total advertising impact as the 2022 series — despite its lower ratings. Our data indicates that a brand would have had to run about 25 ads on an average primetime broadcast or cable program to match the impact of a single 2023 World Series ad, down just slightly from 27 ads for the 2022 Series.

After MLB implemented a series of rule changes aimed at making games shorter and more exciting, ads that ran during regular-season games were 14% more likely to drive consumer engagement than those that aired during the 2022 regular season. Similarly, this year’s MLB Playoffs ads were 22% more engaging than last year’s on a per-person, per-second basis.

Chanel, Visible, and NBA rank among top World Series advertisers

Brands from a range of categories found success connecting with baseball fans during the league’s title series. 

Out of all advertisers with five or more airings during 2023, the most successful brand was the beauty, fashion, and fragrance giant Chanel. On average, its 10 airings of an ad for its Blue de Chanel cologne were 367% more likely to inspire consumer engagement on a per-person, per-second basis than the average ad during this year’s Series.

Other big winners include Visible, Verizon’s discount prepaid mobile service, and the National Basketball Association, which generated strong engagement for an ad promoting its inaugural in-season tournament.

Here’s a look at the full list of the six most effective brands during this year’s World Series, as measured by their likelihood to drive consumer engagement on a per-person, per-second basis:

  • Beauty, fashion, and fragrance brand Chanel, with 10 airings that were 367% more likely to engage viewers than the average ad during the World Series 

  • Visible, Verizon’s discount prepaid mobile service, seven airings, +263% 

  • National Basketball Association, six airings, +177% 

  • Athletic footwear maker New Balance, 10 airings, +129% 

  • Insurance provider Liberty Mutual, seven airings, +113% 

  • Insurance provider GEICO, 26 airings, +110% 

From the World Series to the Super Bowl, EDO is your home for live sports TV ad intel

Baseball season might be in the rearview, but when it comes to analyzing the impact of TV advertising during live sports, we’re bringing the high heat all year round.

Check out our new Super Bowl Outcomes Report for a comprehensive look at advertising impact during last year’s Big Game — and keep an eye out for some exciting insights we’ll be releasing in the months leading up to this summer’s Olympic games from Paris. 

As always, you can subscribe to our newsletter for all our latest TV ad intel.