TBS connected with the biggest regular-season Major League Baseball audience of 2009, via its coverage of last night's 12-inning showdown between the Detroit Tigers-Minnesota Twins for the American League Central title.
The Oct. 6 contest drew a 4.2 U.S. household rating, 4.8 cable rating and some 6.54 million watchers, the biggest baseball telecast on TV, broadcast or cable, during the 2009 regular season, according to Nielsen data. It was TBS's most-viewed telecast since Game 7 of the 2008 American League Championship Series in which the Tampa Bay Rays dethroned the Boston Red Sox in what was cable's most-watched baseball telecast ever with 13.4 million viewers.
The audience grew throughout Tuesday's telecast, peaking at 11.4 million viewers from 9:30-9:45pm, when the Twins scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the third extra frame.
The 6-5 contest, which propelled the Twins into the American League Division Series against the New York Yankees, marked a 57% increase over the similar tiebreaker game between the Twins and the Chicago White Sox last year.
The extra-inning affair delivered a 27.1 rating in the Minnesota DMA, 56% more than the 17.4 mark the Twins drew in their 1-0 loss to the Chisox in the 2008 play-in game. The Oct. 6 game recorded a 24.6 rating in the Detroit DMA.
Of the six one-game postseason play-in games that have taken place during the Wildcard era, only the 1998 contest between the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants delivered a larger network audience than last night's broadcast on TBS, according to officials at the network and MLB.
Measured against last year's play-in contest, yesterday's contest game also notched a host of demo wins: up 49% to 1.34 million adults 18 to 34; ahead 47% to 2.81 million adults 18 to 49; a 50% rise to 2.97 million adults 25 to 54; a 38% gain to 958,000 men 18 to 34; 41% amelioration to 1.99 million men 18 to 49; and a 47% jump to 2.1 million men 18 to 49.
The game sets the stage for TBS's exclusive coverage of the four Division Series, which began today with a tripleheader, featuring the Philadelphia Phillies, a 5-1 winner over the Colorado Rockies; the Yanks-Twins at 6 p.m.; and the Los Angeles Dodgers-St. Louis Cardinals at 9:30 p.m.