NEW YORK (AP) — ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC averaged 1,836,000 viewers for 16 broadcasts in Major League Baseball’s expanded wild-card round, drawing far more viewers for 16 games but an average down vastly from the single-knockout contests in previous years.
The most-watched game was the New York Yankees’ opening 12-3 win over Cleveland on Sept. 29, which averaged 2,642,000 despite taking place partly opposite a presidential debate.
Last year’s ESPN game, Tampa Bay’s 5-1 win over Oakland starting just after 8 p.m. EDT, was seen by an average of 4,615,000 on ESPN, down from 7,130,000 for Colorado’s 2-1, 13-inning win over the Chicago Cubs in the 2018 NL wild-card game at a similar time. ESPN’s wild-card game averaged 5,591,000 to 7,604,000 from 2014-17.
The round was expanded to eight best-of-three series due to the shortened season caused by the new coronavirus pandemic, and games were scheduled from noon EDT until 10 p.m. EDT over a four-day span. The Rays-Blue Jays series was on TBS, which did not respond to an email Wednesday seeking ratings.
This year’s viewers were, with start time and the network the majority of game was carried on:
Sept. 29: Yankees/Indians Game 1, ESPN, 7 p.m. EDT: 2,642,000
Oct. 2: Cardinals/Padres Game 3, ESPN, 10 p.m.: 2,599,000
Sept. 30: Yankees/Indians Game 2, ESPN, 7 p.m.: 2,588,000
Oct. 1: Cardinals/Padres Game 2, ESPN2, p.m.: 2,331,000
Sept. 29: Astros/Twins Game 1, ABC, 2 p.m.: 2,211,000
Oct. 2: Marlins/Cubs Game 2, ABC, 2 p.m.: 1,977,000
Oct. 1: Dodgers/Brewers Game 2, ESPN, 10 p.m.: 1,928,000
Oct. 1: White Sox/Athletics Game 3, ESPN, 3 p.m.: 1,848,000