ESPN’s coverage of the New York Yankees vs. the defending World Series Champion Washington Nationals game on July 23rd 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 in the US on any network since 2011.
ESPN’s record audience for the Yankees vs. Nationals game was up eight per cent 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.
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.