Baseball's largest television audience in seven years watched the St. Louis Cardinals capture the 2011 World Series with Friday night's Game 7 victory over the Texas Rangers.
The game attracted 25.4 million viewers across the country, making it the most-watched telecast since the 2004 World Series, in which the Boston Red Sox ended their 86-year drought by completing a four-game sweep -- over the Cardinals.
Thanks to the peak interest in Game 7 -- following the Cardinals' 10-9, 11-inning victory in the historic Game 6 -- FOX experienced the best Friday night in the network's history. The World Series gave FOX six primetime viewership wins in a seven-night span.
The Friday night rating of 14.7 raised the overall Nielsen's rating for the 2011 Fall Classic to 10.0, representing an increase of 19 percent over the ratings for the '10 World Series between Texas and San Francisco, closed out in five games by the Giants.
Attracting fans around the nation, Game 7 was arresting in St. Louis: The market ratings were 52.7 -- but that jumped to a near-unanimous 89.0 as the Cardinals were wrapping up their clinching 6-2 victory.
Having the Rangers in a second consecutive World Series made an impact on the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The 2011 World Series had a rating of 38.0 in the area -- a jump of 22 percent from last fall's 31.1 average.
Tom Singer is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow @Tom_Singer on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.