MLB Regular-Season Viewership Up For ESPN; Fox, MLB Net See Slight Declines
The ’17 MLB regular season was a proverbial mixed bag for the league's national broadcast partners. ESPN rebounded from what was likely its least-viewed regular season in ’16. The net averaged 996,000 viewers for all games in ’17, up 6% from 940,000 viewers last year. But that figure was again just below the 1 million viewer mark. Two seasons ago, ESPN averaged 1.2 million viewers. Gains this year were aided by an increase for “Sunday Night Baseball,” which was up 8% from ’16. Meanwhile, Fox broadcasts averaged 2.05 million viewers, down 2% from 2.09 million viewers last year. FS1 games were virtually flat (448,000 viewers vs. 447,000). The ’17 season, however, was down 11% from ’15 (504,000 viewers). Over on MLB Network, game viewership was down 9% this season. The net did air more games in ’17, as 19 more games aired this season compared to last. What has aided MLB Net’s 6% total-day viewership to date was actually the World Baseball Classic back in March.