UPDATE with new info: ESPN’s first game of the new baseball season Sunday night was in midseason form ratings-wise. The network’s coverage of the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs vs the St. Louis Cardinals was watched by 3.62 million viewers, up 25% over last year’s game. Its 2.3 overnight rating in the metered markets was up 10% over last year’s opener to make it ESPN’s highest-rated opening night telecast since 2010.
The network said that it was ESPN’s most-watched opening-night game ever with an average total live audience (TV + streaming) of 3.707M viewers, up 26% over last year’s Royals-Mets World Series rematch.
The game’s livestream generated 20,457,000 total minutes and 321,000 unique viewers, up 94% and 59%, respectively, over last year.
Last night’s Cardinals home opener (a 4-3 victory for the home team) had a 20.1 rating in baseball-mad St. Louis, a record for a regular season game on ESPN; the Chicago market delivered an 8.4 rating, the best on ESPN since 2008.