With teams from four top ten local TV markets (New York #1, LA #2, Chicago #3 and Houston #7), MLB’s TV partners are seeing good numbers for the American League and National League Championship Series.

Even though Fox Sports did not get its dream scenario of Red Sox-Yankees in the American League, it’s still riding a New York wave from the first two ALCS games. Game 1 on FS1 in primetime averaged almost 6.2 million viewers, up 50% from last year’s Toronto-Cleveland Game 1 on TBS, which drew 4.1 million. One big caveat from last year is that Toronto doesn’t count in the U.S. ratings. ALCS Game 1 was also the seventh most-watched event in FS1’s young history.

As for Game 2, which aired on Fox, it drew over 6.2 million viewers in the late Saturday afternoon window. That’s up a whopping 138% from the 2.6 million that watched Blue Jays-Indians Game 2 on TBS last year. Sports Media Watch points out that it’s the most watched LCS day game dating back to ALCS Game 2 (Texas-Detroit) in 2011, which averaged 6.6 million viewers.

A consistent 6.2 million audience for the first two ALCS games this year has to give some hope for FS1, which will air the rest of the series.

Going to the NLCS, TBS drew 6.4 million for Game 1 on Saturday night in the Cubs-Dodgers series, up 8% from last year’s Game 1 on FS1, which featured the same teams. The game peaked with 7.5 million in the 9:45-10 p.m. ET quarter-hour, and was the fourth-largest audience of this year’s postseason, just behind ALDS Game 5 (7.3 million), NLDS Game 5 (7.0 million), and AL Wild Card Game (6.8 million).

As for Game 2 of the NLCS, it drew a 4.5 overnight rating, which won the primetime ratings on cable. It was up against the Giants-Broncos Sunday Night Football game on NBC.

UPDATE: TBS says NLCS Game 2 averaged 6.8 million viewers down from last year’s Cubs-Dodgers game which drew 7.3 million viewers on FS1. The game peaked with 8.9 million viewers between 10:45 — 11 p.m. ET.

The MLB Postseason has some good momentum, and both FS1 and TBS are hoping for extended series to keep the numbers going. Given that the home teams won the first two games in both series, the networks are likely going to be cheering for the Yankees and Cubs as the series shift locations this week.

[Sports Media Watch 1, 2]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

  • Dale Moog

    The games should rate high on FS1 VS TBS because more people would look for the game on FS1 first TBS was a poor choice for the postseason games. I wish they all aired on FOX or NBCSN. They could pick up the TBS package. NBCSN could still carry NHL games on off baseball nights and gain a huge win. This would allow Costas to call big games again and tehy could use one of the NBC Sports local crews to call the other games I think they should bid on these games when TBS is done.

    • I will add that I wish that subscribers to MLB.TV didn’t also have to be cable subscribers to watch the playoffs. The whole system is designed to make it harder than it should be. (Say what you will about the NFL, but they seem to be committed to making playoffs games available without cable and more and more games streaming to the widest audiences possible.)

  • Schmolik

    I’m surprised they gave the NL both midweek prime time games and left the AL both afternoon (well 5pm start) games when the AL featured the Yankees and you would think MLB would want to feature their brand new star Aaron Judge as many times in prime time as it could. I think especially when two different leagues split LCS coverage they should split afternoon games.

  • StoJa

    WHat were the numbers vs Sunday Night Football?

  • Pingback: What will World Series viewership look like this year, and what will Fox and MLB be happy with?()