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Baseball’s Return Draws Record Ratings on ESPN

Los Angeles Dodgers player Justin Turner during a 2019 regular season game.
(Image credit: Scott Clarke / ESPN Images)

Baseball is back and the fans returned to their televisions.

With the start of the season delayed by COVID-19, the first game of ESPN’s opening day doubleheader drew 4 million viewers, an opening night record, as the Yankees beat the World Champion Nationals Thursday.

It was the most-watched regular season Major League Baseball game on any network since 2011, based on fast national ratings from Nielsen and up 232% from last season’s opener.

The second half of the double header, with the Giants and the Dodger was ESPN’s most-watched regular season late night game ever. 

The 10 p.m. ET game drew 2.8 million viewers. 

The early game drew an 8.4 rating in Washington and a 7.8 ratings in New York.

The late game had a 6.9 rating in San Francisco and a 6.8 in L.A.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.