ESPN Generates Largest Audience Ever for MLB Opening Night Telecast: Record Four Million Viewers for New York Yankees vs. Washington Nationals Game

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ESPN Generates Largest Audience Ever for MLB Opening Night Telecast: Record Four Million Viewers for New York Yankees vs. Washington Nationals Game

Yankees vs. Nationals is Most-Watched Regular Season MLB Game on Any Network Since 2011

San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers in Second Half of Opening Night Doubleheader is ESPN’s Most-Watched Regular Season Late Night ET Game Ever

ESPN’s exclusive coverage of last night’s New York Yankees vs. the defending World Series Champion Washington Nationals game generated a record average audience of 4,000,000 viewers for a Major League Baseball Opening Night game telecast, according to Fast Nationals from Nielsen. The telecast is the most-watched regular season MLB game on any network since 2011.

ESPN’s record audience for the Yankees vs. Nationals game was up eight percent from the previous Opening Night record set by ESPN’s St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs game on Opening Night in 2017, which drew 3,700,000 viewers. Last night’s telecast was also up 232 percent from last year’s Opening Night telecast between the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners, which drew 1,200,000 viewers. The Yankees vs. Nationals ESPN telecast peaked with 4,480,000 viewers at 8:30 p.m. ET.

The game telecast delivered an 8.4 rating in the Washington D.C. market, which is the highest-rated regular season MLB game ever on ESPN in the market. It also generated a 7.8 rating in the New York market, making it the highest-rated regular season MLB game on ESPN in the market since 2015.

Additionally, the second half of ESPN’s exclusive Opening Night telecast presented by John Deere doubleheader at 10 p.m. ET – the San Francisco Giants vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers – generated an average audience of 2,764,000 viewers and is ESPN’s most-watched MLB regular season late night ET game ever. The telecast drew a 6.9 rating in the San Francisco market, making it the highest-rated regular season MLB game in the market since 2013. In Los Angeles, the telecast drew a 6.8 rating, making it the highest-rated regular season MLB game on ESPN in the market, outside of the 2018 tiebreaker game vs. the Colorado Rockies.

ESPN’s Major League Baseball Opening Day coverage continues today, Friday, July 24, with a tripleheader. For more information on ESPN’s season-opening schedule, please visit ESPN Press Room.

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Ben Cafardo

I lead communications strategy and execution for ESPN’s NBA, MLB, FIBA and Little League World Series properties. I’m also a proud consumer of all things ESPN.
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