The Yankees may not have won last night’s AL Wild Card Game, but they certainly helped to produce a big victory for ESPN. The Astros-Yankees contest (actually won by Houston) drew a 5.7 overnight rating for the mothership, the highest rated Wild Card Game in MLB history. And perhaps equally as meaningful, it’s the highest rated MLB game on ESPN in 12 years. The game also set records in the Houston market and for WatchESPN.
Via a Bristol presser:
ESPN’s American League Wild Card telecast presented by Hankook Tires– the Houston Astros defeated the New York Yankees 3-0 – delivered a 5.7 overnight rating, making it the highest-rated MLB Wild Card Game ever and the highest-rated MLB game on ESPN in 12 years. Additionally, it generated the largest audience for an MLB game ever on WatchESPN, setting records across metrics, including 445,000 unique viewers, an average minute audience of 127,000 viewers, and 25.7 million total minutes viewed across devices.
AL Wild Card on ESPN highlights:
– Up 50 percent from the 2014 AL Wild Card Game (Kansas City vs. Oakland, 3.8);
– Up 39 percent from last year’s NL Wild Card Game on ESPN (San Francisco vs. Pittsburgh, 4.1);
– Matched the highest-rated MLB game on ESPN in 12 years (Braves vs. Cubs, ALDS, 10/3/03);
– Peaked with a 6.4 rating from 10-10:15 p.m. ET;
– Generated a 14.8 rating in the Houston, making it the highest-rated MLB game ever on ESPN in the market. It drew a 12.0 rating in New York, making it the highest-rated MLB game on ESPN in the market since 2012.
That’s tremendous news for ESPN and for Major League Baseball, which has seen a lot of positive momentum on both local and national scales. The question now becomes whether that momentum will carry over into the rest of the postseason without one of the biggest draws in sports. The AL field doesn’t contain a lot of traditional national namebrands (Royals, Rangers, Blue Jays, Astros) but it does contain a lot of great stories. Hopefully MLB can count on those stories developing and driving viewers the rest of the way.