Josh Hamilton’s barrage of dingers the other night was so exciting that more people watched his show than the Democratic Debates. The total number of viewers actually turned out to be ESPN’s most viewed non-NFL program of the year so far.

Last night’s ESPN telecast of the 2008 State Farm Home Run Derby – held at Yankee Stadium in its final season – averaged a 6.4 rating and 6,184,000 household impressions to become the most-viewed Home Run Derby ever among households (5,718,000 households in 1999 was the previous record). The Derby led ESPN to win the night – cable and broadcast – among viewers, Men 18-34, Men 18-49, Men 25-54, Adults 18-34, Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54.

Additionally, the Derby is the highest-rated and most-viewed ad-supported cable program in 2008 to date. This year’s Home Run Derby is up 35 percent over last year in viewers (6,778,000), 29 percent in households (4,778,000 in 2007), and 25 percent in rating (5.1 last year).

Almost 7 million people seems like a heck of a lot of people to me and I didn’t know that many people were interested in the contest. No wonder ESPN decides to send 20 people to the event ever year. Wait, that still doesn’t make sense.


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