After absorbing some brushback pitches from the weather and football, TBS bounced back in the ratings with its coverage of the American League Division Series on Monday.
TBS scored a 3.9 U.S. household rating and nearly 6.05 million viewers with its coverage of the Detroit Tigers' 5-4 win over the New York Yankees in Game 3 of their ALDS matchup, according to Nielsen data. Those performances were up 30% from a 3.0 rating and 26% in audience from 4.81 million viewers for the third game last year, when the Yankees swept the Minnesota Twins on a Saturday night.
TBS opened its Oct. 3 doubleheader with Game 3 between the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers, which drew 3.47 million watchers and a 2.3 rating, up 5% from a 2.2 mark for the same clubs a year-ago.
As such, TBS's fourth day of exclusive Division Series coverage averaged 4.59 million viewers, up 12% from a 4.1 million, and a 3.0 rating, a 15% advance from a 2.6 last season.
Still, the audience has dropped significantly over the first four days of the 2011 postseason for Turner Sports. Through10 telecasts on TBS and TNT, ratings declined 28% to a 2.1 from a 2.8 average in 2010, while viewership decreased 25% to 3.32 million from 4.45 million, according to Nielsen.
Viewership has been hamstrung by a schedule that saw the playoffs begin on Friday and Saturday, rather than during midweek, with its higher HUT levels. TBS's cause was hurt coming out of the box by Tampa's late afternoon blowout of Texas on Sept. 30. What was then supposed to be a marquee matchup between Cy Young favorite Detroit's Justin Verlander and Yankee ace CC Sabathia in primetime was marred by rain, resulting in a suspended game after an inning-and-a-half, following a lengthy delay.
MLB's 2011 postseason schedule has placed more games versus college and pro football over the weekend.
Looking ahead, Turner can only hope that the action of the field will continue to be favorable: It has a trio of Game 4s for the first time in its five years with the Division Series package. Should those series extend to a decisive Game 5, ratings figure to climb as they have historically for extended matchups.