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ESPN Generates Largest Audience Ever for MLB Opening Night Telecast

Written by:
Tony Caliente
Published on:
Jul/24/2020

It's official.  Fans and sports bettors alike are thrilled to have sports back in the United States, and the numbers prove this. 


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ESPN reported a record 4 million people tuned in to watch the Yankees face the Nationals for Thursday's opening night Major League Baseball game.  This was also the most watched MLB game on any network since 2011.

The 2020 MLB will feature 60 games.  The global coronavirus pandemic forced nearly all sports to shut down back in Mid-March.  US leagues began playing this month, starting with Major League Soccer.  The NBA, WNBA and NHL are slated to resume play over the coming days.

ESPN’s record audience for the Yankees vs. Nationals game was up eight percent from the previous Opening Night record set by ESPN’s St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs game on Opening Night in 2017, which drew 3,700,000 viewers. Last night’s telecast was also up 232 percent from last year’s Opening Night telecast between the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners, which drew 1,200,000 viewers. The Yankees vs. Nationals ESPN telecast peaked with 4,480,000 viewers at 8:30 p.m. ET.

The game telecast delivered an 8.4 rating in the Washington D.C. market, which is the highest-rated regular season MLB game ever on ESPN in the market. It also generated a 7.8 rating in the New York market, making it the highest-rated regular season MLB game on ESPN in the market since 2015.

The game ended early due to heavy rainfall.

Additionally, the second half of ESPN’s exclusive Opening Night telecast presented by John Deere doubleheader at 10 p.m. ET – the San Francisco Giants vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers – generated an average audience of 2,764,000 viewers and is ESPN’s most-watched MLB regular season late night ET game ever. The telecast drew a 6.9 rating in the San Francisco market, making it the highest-rated regular season MLB game in the market since 2013. In Los Angeles, the telecast drew a 6.8 rating, making it the highest-rated regular season MLB game on ESPN in the market, outside of the 2018 tiebreaker game vs. the Colorado Rockies.

- Tony Caliente, Gambling911.com

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