Through the first half of the regular season, ESPN’s MLB coverage is up from 2013 across the board. That’s good news, especially given that the Home Run Derby drew just a 3.4 rating and 5.4 million viewers on Monday, down double digits from each of the last two seasons. That 3.4 rating is the lowest since 1998, before which ratings weren’t available.
Cumulatively, MLB on ESPN is averaging a 0.9 rating and 1.242 million viewers this season, up 13% in ratings and 11% in viewers from 2013. Sunday Night Baseball is averaging 1.983 million viewers and a 1.3 rating, up a modest 9% in viewers and 8% in ratings from 2014. ESPN has also seen their average rating increase in both the males 25-54 demo and the 18-49 demo. WatchESPN continues to attract more and more viewers as well, as ESPN’s slate of MLB games has increased by 72% in average minute audience and 68% in unique viewers.
This is actually the second straight year that ESPN has seen their ratings for Sunday Night Baseball increase after bottoming out in 2012. With a strong quarter from MLB Network as well, Fox has been the only national network that has struggled this year with their MLB ratings. Maybe many (ourselves included) were too quick to completely bury MLB on national television. They should be thrilled with their steps forward this year, but the Fox issue is frightening.