Fox began their “Baseball Night In America” campaign Saturday night with regional action kicking off a several week stretch of primetime network coverage. Fox’s first marquee primetime MLB matchup of the season pitted two large, rabid markets against each other, with the Boston Red Sox traveling to Philadelphia to take on the Phillies. Unfortunately, Fox didn’t get the results they were looking for, as ratings fell to a 2.4 overnight, down 20% from last year’s primetime opener between the Yankees and Red Sox. That 2.4 is the lowest ever for primetime regular season games on Fox.
While the ratings were down in comparison to other Fox primetime games, they were still the third highest for the season on Fox, trailing the April 14th Angels-Yankees game and the April 21st Yankees-Red Sox game/Phillip Humber perfect game duo.
While the Red Sox and Phillies are both from traditionally strong markets, both teams have struggled this year, and are both in last place in their respective divisions. While the local fans of each club would tune in, the casual fan likely wouldn’t, due to the relative oversaturation of both teams as well as their early struggles on the season. In addition, it still may take a while for the whole “Baseball Night In America” idea to sink in with more casual fans across the country.
[h/t: Sports Media Watch]