Whether the ratings were good or bad, these numbers are historic. After all, it’s the first time that MLB has had the Wild Card play-in games where the winner moves on the LDS and the loser starts booking tee-times. The games, which saw the Cardinals beat the Braves 6-3 and the Orioles win over the Rangers 5-1 was dripping with compelling stories. Both road teams won, it was Chipper Jones’ last game of his career, the Orioles were back in the playoffs after a drought of 14 years, and along the way there was the “Infield Fly Rule” debacle, and a host of errors by the Braves.
So how did it rank on television? While the NFL must surely be laughing, TBS’s exclusive live doubleheader coverage of Major League Baseball’s first-ever Wild Card averaged a 3.7 overnight rating, based on Nielsen overnight ratings. The network’s telecasts, marking the start of the 2012 MLB Postseason, were up 12 percent compared with an averaged 3.3 overnight rating for the entire Division Series last year. When compared to last year’s opening day of the MLB Postseason (Texas vs. Tampa Bay, ALDS Game 1 – 2.3 overnight rating), the Wild Card games are up 61 percent.
The question is, will it all continue? We’ll find out as MLB goes head-to-head with NCAA Football on Saturday and the NFL on Sunday.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).
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