This past Sunday, MLB Network aired the Hall of Fame induction ceremony for the sixth consecutive year. Unsurprisingly, the class of six living members drew an incredible audience for MLB Network, the best ever seen for an induction ceremony on the network, but the raw numbers are more incredible than expected.
516,000 viewers tuned in to the event, which is a mammoth increase of 411% from last year’s ceremony, when there were exactly zero living inductees. If you think that’s not a fair comparison, this year’s induction drew 177% more viewers than the 2012 ceremony, which featured the inductions of late Cubs legend Ron Santo and current ESPNer (and former Cincinnati red great) Barry Larkin.
I think we all expected record-setting numbers, but half a million viewers is out of this world. The more highly viewed regular season games on Fox Sports 1 and MLB Network draw around that number, and the two games that aired on Fox Sports 1 the prior day combined drew fewer viewers than the ceremony. It’s fantastic for MLB Network to draw that many eyeballs for an ceremony with no actual baseball being played, but considering who was inducted and the large markets they spent their careers in, I’m not exactly surprised.