The clash between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox for first place in the American League East generated strong viewership numbers for FOX, ESPN and MLB Network this week.
Saturday’s FOX broadcast was the most watched non-prime regular season MLB telecast on the Network in more than three years with 4.10 million average viewers.
Most of the country saw Yankees vs. Red Sox while parts of the country watched last year’s NLCS participants, Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants, square off.
The last FOX non-prime regular season telecast to record higher numbers featured Boston and New York and the Cubs vs. St. Louis on July 5, 2008. For the season to date, FOX Saturday Baseball is averaging 2.97 million viewers, which is +5% versus last year’s 2.83 million viewers after 19 weeks.
ESPN’s Sunday night telecast of the Red Sox vs. Yankees was the most watched ESPN baseball game in more than four years with 4.72 million average viewers.
The last time ESPN attracted a larger audience for baseball was for the Yankees vs. Red Sox on June 3, 2007 with 5.30 million average viewers. For the season, ESPN’s nationally exclusive telecasts are averaging 2.53 million viewers, which is +9% versus last year’s 2.32 million viewers after 19 weeks.
MLB Network’s Friday night telecast of the first game of the Yankees at Red Sox series was the network’s highest-rated game of 2011, averaging 563,000 viewers, second only to MLB Network’s telecast of Stephen Strasburg’s MLB debut in 2010 as its most-watched game ever.
The telecast helped deliver MLB Network’s highest primetime audience ever and a 25th consecutive week of viewership growth since pitchers and catchers reported. The Yankees at Red Sox telecast on MLB Network was blacked out in the Boston and New York home television territories.