ESPN’s first Spring Training broadcast since 2021 drew a multi-year high audience for the network.

The Cardinals’ 12-7 win over the Mets on Monday averaged 423,000 viewers on ESPN, the highest audience for a Spring Training game on the network since 2016 (a primetime Cubs-Giants game).

Last year, ESPN carried zero Spring Training games, instead streaming ten on ESPN+. This season, ESPN has aired three Spring Training games, with the fourth and final broadcast coming on Thursday, and will stream another six on ESPN+. Prior to last year’s streaming-only schedule, ESPN usually aired around four Spring Training games each year.

So, why the viewership spike? The Mets and Cardinals being involved didn’t hurt. The implementation of the pitch clock probably intrigued some viewers. Additionally, there was no conflict head to head with college basketball, which can be an issue in early March when conference tournaments are beginning.

I wouldn’t read all that much into this, but ESPN and MLB won’t be mad at Monday’s positive number.


About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.