With postseason Wild Card berths on the line, ESPN connected on its most-viewed Wednesday night Major League Baseball telecast in 13 years.
ESPN's coverage of Baltimore's 4-3 win over Boston on Sept. 28 averaged a 1.6 rating, 1.55 million homes and 2.12 million viewers between 7 p.m. and midnight, according to Nielsen data. The delivery, which excluded the local markets of the participating squads, was ESPN's best since the 2.7 rating, 2.04 million households and 2.68 million viewers on Sept. 23, 1998, when St. Louis' Mark McGwire was in record-setting home run form versus the Houston Astros.
ESPN's numbers jumped to a 2.8 rating, 2.78 million homes and 3.84 million watchers from 12:05-12:14 p.m. on Sept. 29 with its coverage of the dramatic ending of the Tampa Bay-New York game when Evan Longoria's walk-off home run propelled the Rays into the postseason.
ESPN2 scored a 0.9 rating, 904,000 households and 1.18 million for its presentation of Philadelphia's 4-3 extra-inning win that eliminated the Atlanta Braves from the playoff.
On the season, ESPN's 69 MLB telecasts were up 3% to 1.13 million households from 1.09 million and 5% in viewership to 1.45 million from 1.39 million compared to last year's 66 telecasts. Ratings were even at 1.1.
The network's Sunday Night Baseball telecasts were flat at a 1.7 rating, but grew 4% to a 1.72 million households from 1.66 million, while viewership advanced 5% to 2.29 million from 2.18 million.