ESPN is scoring with its multiplatform coverage of the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
First-round coverage of four games averaged a 1.3 rating, 1.3 million households and 1.75 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research data. Those performances marked gains of 44% over the 0.9 rating average, 57% over 829,000 households and 88% over 930,000 viewers in the first round of the inaugural tourney in 2006, when ESPN presented two games.
ESPN's coverage of the March 8 game between the U.S. and Venezuela scored with 1.9 million households and an audience of 2.65 million, to become the most-viewed WBC telecast ever. The game's 2.0 average matched the network's Sunday Night Baseball average in 2008, according to ESPN officials. Moreover, the contest was the second highest-rated WBC telecast ever, trailing only a 2.1 rating for a second-round game between USA and Mexico in 2006.
On ESPN Deportes, the WBC accounted for the Spanish-language network's six highest-rated non-soccer events. The coverage was led by the March 10 Cuba-Australia game, which drove a 3.3 rating within the Hispanic universe to become the network's highest-rated non-soccer event ever. Australia-Cuba supplanted the 2.2 mark for the Feb. 6 Mexico-Venezuela Caribbean World Series game earlier this year.
All told, March 10, was ESPN Deportes' most-viewed day ever, delivering 71,000 Hispanic household impressions, compared with 63,0000 on June 29, 2008, the day of the Euro 2008 final..
ESPN Deportes first-round WBC coverage averaged a 1.5 rating, 65,000 households and 89,000 viewers.
On ESPNdeportes.com, the WBC pushed the site to its biggest traffic day on March 11, with nearly 5.6 million page views, yielding 9.6 million minutes spend on the site, according to network officials.
ESPN.com recorded 1.9 million views of WBC-related video through the completion of the first round.
Meanwhile, broadband service ESPN360.com's coverage of USA-Canada on March 7 was the most-viewed event of that day.
Second-round WBC coverage begins with MLB Network and ESPN Deportes presenting the Netherlands, which upset the Dominican Republic twice in the opening round to advance, against Venezuela at 1 p.m. on March 14, followed by the U.S. taking on Puerto Rico at 8 p.m. that night.
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