Last night's first World Series game featured a bit of everything when it comes to the unexpected — a blackout, a rare inside-the-park home run, a crucial error by a Kansas City Royals team that never makes an error, a blown save by a Mets closer that hadn't blown a save in three months and, of course, a 14-inning game that lasted more than five hours.
There's a way to make sense of the odd night in Kansas City and make some money in the process (no, we're not talking about FanDuel or DraftKings daily fantasy sports World Series lineup setting). There's a long history of stocks that become heavy-hitters around major sporting events — with the most obvious link being heavy advertising in front of a huge audience.
CNBC data partner Kensho is talented at uncovering links between sporting events and consumer stocks. So we asked Kensho: What are the consumer stocks that perform best during the week of the World Series?
With all the pharmaceutical commercials aimed at aging men during World Series commercial breaks, you might expect that big pharma stocks perform well around the MLB playoffs final series. They don't; names like Pfizer and Merck do not even keep pace with the S&P 500 during World Series weeks dating back to 1990 (regardless of what Viagra and Cialis might offer many of the viewers in the World Series audience).
Here's Kensho's version of "Moneyball," crunching stats going back to the 1990 World Series. To provide some idea as to "MVP" status of the stocks featured below that are winners during World Series week, consider that during World Series weeks dating back to 1990, the average return of the S&P 500 is 1.59 percent.
Yum! Brands, parent to Taco Bell, is getting a lot of World Series buzz for its promotion that entitled every American to a breakfast wrap if a base was stolen in the first World Series game. And thanks to the Royals' Lorenzo Cain, every American earned the right to take Yum up on that offer on Thursday, Nov. 5. Yum has also been among the food stock winners around the World Series, but not the best. Among Mexican 'fast' fare, it's not Yum that has really performed with stock gains as big as an overstuffed burrito during the Fall Classic (see the chart below for the best food stock play, and the stock with the best World Series "average" among all consumer stocks).
And after last night's marathon game ending after 1 a.m. ET, a certain coffee stock might also be in for some better-than-usual strong Series' performance.
Notice those Chevy pickup truck commercials during the game (and throughout the playoffs)? Yeah, we thought you might have. And it might just mean something to shares of General Motors, as well as the broader universe of auto-industry stocks.
If there's any sabermetrician's logic to the World Series stock "Moneyball," it's obviously all about the ads.
Amazon, for example, has inserted itself into the World Series by sponsoring a segment tracking speed on the base paths — it's trying to subconsciously, or not so subconsciously, link speed to Amazon Web Services, its fast-growing cloud-storage unit. And Amazon shares have performed reasonably well during World Series weeks. But let's face it: Amazon shares have performed more than reasonably well ever since it went public, making even the best MLB batters look paltry in comparison. (According to Google Finance, Amazon shares are up more than 35,000 percent since its IPO.)
But there are more obvious ad-related plays to turn on the World Series, including the ad giant double play of Omnicom and Interpublic Group of Companies. And barring the embarrassing blackout during the first World Series game, it looks like News Corp. stands to benefit from being the series' broadcaster. See below.
And you thought it was all just about bites and brews. Well, actually, some of those beer and bite stocks do hit for average during the Fall Classic.
Caveat emptor: The World Series-week data sort presents one very important conflict. It falls right in the middle of earnings season, meaning any negative or positive surprise from a company can make the long-term performance seem to present all of the accuracy of a wild pitch. Case in point: Buffalo Wild Wings, which reported disappointing results after the close on Wednesday, and struck out with investors, losing more than 10 percent in after-hours trading.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal, parent of CNBC, is a minority investor in Kensho.