Major League Baseball and Fox are close to finalizing the earliest start time to a World Series game in 23 years. First pitch for World Series Game 3 this year, hosted by the American League champion, would be scheduled for approximately 6:55 p.m. Eastern time, according to baseball sources -- an hour earlier than Game 3 last season and more than 100 minutes earlier from as recently as 2007.
It would be the first World Series game to start before 7 p.m. ET since Game 6 of the 1987 World Series between St. Louis and Minnesota, which began at 1 p.m.
Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 30. Saturday is traditionally the lowest-rated night for television viewing. Since Fox asked in 2007 to begin the World Series on a Wednesday, Game 3 has been the lowest-rated game of the past three World Series by a wide margin. A start time before 7 p.m. ET on weeknights or Sundays is highly unlikely because it would conflict with Fox's affiliate needs and NFL coverage, respectively.
Baseball and Fox hope the earlier start allows fans in the Eastern time zone, especially younger fans, to watch the entire game while also building an audience before prime time college football viewing options.
The move continues a trend by baseball and commissioner Bud Selig to move up World Series start times, even incrementally. Game 3 of the 2007 World Series between Boston and Colorado began at 8:36 p.m. ET. Baseball moved up the start time for Game 3 in 2008 between Tampa Bay and Philadelphia to 7:57 p.m., though because of a rain delay it did not begin until 10:06 p.m. Game 3 of last year's series between the Yankees and Phillies was scheduled to begin at 7:57 p.m. ET but didn't start until 9:17 p.m. because of a rain delay.