Combine New York City, the Yankees, the final year in the House That Ruth Built, MLB marketing hitting on all cylinders and what do you get? The business of baseball equivalent of a grand slam in the 79th All-Star Game and associated festivities.
Tuesday night’s 15 inning instant classic delivered an average audience of 14.54 million viewers, which is the largest audience for the game in the last six years and a 16% increase versus last year. The game delivered a 9.3/16 household rating and share (an 11% increase over last year) for its dozens of national advertisers, many of which are MLB corporate partners, who purchased in-game commercials at record levels. The numbers are based on Neilsen Media Research’s Live + Same Day audience data for the first nine innings of the game.
As reported Wednesday, the Home Run Derby averaged 6,184,000 homes tuning in based on Live + Same Day audience data from Nielsen Media Research. The average 6.4 household rating, 6.2 million homes, and 9.1 million viewers delivered by the 2008 State Farm Home Run Derby rank it as the highest-rated and most-viewed telecast of the year on cable television.
MLB registered other hits for the Mid-Season Classic that compared to some of Josh Hamilton’s moon shots from the Home Run Derby:
- The DHL All-Star FanFest set a record for fan attendance with more than 130,000. The five-day event beat out the previous record of 125,020 which took place in San Francisco last year.
- Major League Baseball set a record for sales of All-Star merchandise with an increase of 75% over last year’s record sales with the most popular items being Statue of Liberty replicas with MLB league and club designs, on-field All-Star workout jerseys, and All-Star caps.
With a pre-game collection of 49 Hall of Famers, the surprise showing of George Steinbrenner emotionally arriving on the field, the free concert with Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow singing the National Anthem… well, MLB did the event up in first rate fashion.
What was the final report card from MLB?
“With the backdrop of New York City and the final year of Yankee Stadium, this was truly an All-Star Summer for the ages,” said Tim Brosnan, Major League Baseball Executive Vice President, Business. “Fans and business partners have told us that this was a spectacular success and a fitting tribute to the final year of Yankee Stadium.”
The problem? How can MLB top it? That’s for next year (and probably many more to come).
As a sidebar, prepare to see one commercial more and more as January approaches. The first ads for the upcoming MLB Network were aired during the All-Star Game. Get the DVR ready.