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MLB Makes Solid Ratings Return

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ince opening day just over a week ago, Major League Baseball (MLB) has rated well in the United States.

The season opener between the Toronto Bluejays and New York Yankees averaged 910,000 viewers on ESPN, despite it being played on a Thursday afternoon.

These figures were a 29% increase from the Yankee’s season opener against the Orioles in the last full season in 2019, averaging an audience of 740,000.

Delayed and abbreviated coverage of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies averaged 884,000, which was a significant 64% increase on 2019.

The primetime game between the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics rated comparatively lower with a 655,000 viewer average.

This was impacted, however, by the fact it was broadcast as a single game, unlike the doubleheader in 2019 that amassed 4.01 million for Yankees-Nationals and 2.78 million for the Astros-Dodgers blockbusters.

Viewership statistics for the various broadcasters were mixed on the Sunday and Monday Night baseball opener.

ESPN and FS1 both broadcast games that saw a drop of more than 30% in average viewers, whilst SNY averaged 413,000 for their New York Mets vs Philadelphia Phillies game, which was a record for the broadcaster, and even topped some nationally televised games.

YES Network wrapped up a strong showing for New York-based sports networks, enjoying their best viewership since 2012.

They averaged 391,000 total viewers through their first six New York Yankees telecasts.

These viewership results in the MLB come as baseball aims to boost its popularity in the United States.

When comparing the three top major sports, 96.4 million Americans watched the Superbowl in 2021, with 14.3 million tuning into baseball’s World Series in 2020, and 7.5 million watching the 2020 NBA Finals.

Regular-season ratings are a slightly different story, with the National Football League (NFL) maintaining its status as the best rating sport in the United States.

The National Basketball Association (NBA), however, is rating more strongly than baseball during the regular season and some playoff games.

The aim for the MLB now will be to build on some promising opening day viewership statistics and improve on mediocre audiences experienced in past seasons.