In news that will greatly irritate people who hated the concept of the one game MLB Wild Card playoff, ratings for the two games on Friday drew an average of 4.6 million viewers, higher than the average of 4.2 million for the entire 2011 Division Series and up 61% from last year's inaugural day of playoff coverage after a thrilling Game 162 last season.
Including Saturday's day of Division Series coverage, TBS is averaging 3.9 million viewers for Friday and Saturday's postseason coverage, up 26% from 2012. Perhaps the more impressive thing about these great ratings is the markets involved: two Bay Area teams, Detroit, and Cincinnati in Saturday's Division Series coverage, and Baltimore, Dallas, St Louis, and Atlanta in Friday's Wild Card games. There was no New York team involved, no Los Angeles team, no Philadelphia team, and no Boston team, four markets that generally draw massive ratings when they're featured.
Saturday's Division Series games only showed a modest bump over last year's first day of coverage (which was a Friday, making Saturday's ratings more impressive figuring in the loaded slate of college football games), jumping to an average of 3.1 million viewers compared to 2.9 last year, an increase of 7%. But in their local markets, the games excelled, with game one of the A's-Tigers series drawing a 19.2 rating in Detroit and a 7.9 rating in the Bay Area, and game one of the Reds-Giants series drawing a 17.0 rating in Cincinnati and a 12.6 rating in the Bay Area.
As the ratings for the rest of the first round of the playoffs trickle in, it'll be best to compare the Division Series games directly to each other, instead of incorporating the new games this year into the overall ratings picture.
At any rate though, the Wild Card playoff games did pick up some big ratings, which will please Bud Selig and enthusiasts of the infield fly rule.