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#pounditFriday, October 30, 2020

MLB opening night drew record ratings after sports hiatus

Rob Manfred

Major League Baseball officially returned on Thursday night with the start of the 2020 regular season, and the ratings for the two games prove just how much fans missed live sports.

The first game of the night between the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals drew 4 million viewers, which was the largest audience ever for an Opening Night. The contest was also the most-watched regular season MLB game in nearly a decade, according to a press release from ESPN.

Yankees-Nationals drew an 8.4 rating in the Washington, D.C., market, making it the most-watched MLB regular season game ever on ESPN in that market. The 7.8 rating in New York was the highest for a regular season game for the network in that market since 2015.

The second half of ESPN’s double-header was nearly as popular. That game, which featured the San Francisco Giants hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers, drew a 6.9 rating in the San Francisco market, making it the highest-rated regular season game on ESPN in that market since 2013. The 6.8 rating in Los Angeles was topped only by the Dodgers’ 2018 tie-breaker game against the Colorado Rockies.

MLB’s return marked the first night where fans could watch a live, regular season game from one of the four major American sports in over four months. The ratings from “The Match” gave us a hint that Opening Night would be a success for MLB, and the numbers were definitely eye-opening.

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