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Volume 25 No. 199
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MLB LDS Viewership Lower Despite Strong Red Sox-Yankees Figures

TBS' series-clinching Red Sox-Yankees Game 4 on Monday night averaged 7.15 million viewers
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

While Red Sox-Yankees was a boon for TBS’ numbers, MLB overall saw League Divisional Series viewership this year at its lowest level since ’14 (both '18 and '14 had no Game 5s). The 14 games between the NLDS and ALDS, which included two series sweeps, averaged 3.18 million viewers across TBS, FS1 and MLB Net this year, down 13% from 17 games last year (3.64 million viewers), which featured two LDS Game 5s. The mark in ’14 was 3.15 million viewers, which also included two series sweeps. TBS on its own averaged 4.32 million viewers for the ALDS, which is the net’s best LDS average since ’15, when it carried a pair of five-game ALDS matchups. TBS this year was up 15% from its NLDS coverage in ’17. The net's series-clinching Red Sox-Yankees Game 4 on Tuesday night averaged 7.15 million viewers, which is the most-viewed LDS Game 4 on any net since Indians-Yankees drew 9.23 million viewers on TBS in '07 (also a Monday night). Meanwhile, FS1 had its lowest LDS viewership since it began airing playoff games in ’14. The net averaged 2.3 million viewers, down from 3.82 million last year, which included a Yankees-Indians Game 5. This year was the first time one of FS1's LDS matchups did not go to five games. MLB Net also had its lowest LDS average since ’15. Its two games averaged 2.06 million viewers, down from 2.72 million last year. For the MLB Postseason to date, including Wild Cards, TBS, FS1, ESPN and MLB Net are averaging 3.69 million viewers, down from 3.86 million at the same point last year, but up from 3.55 million two years ago (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

MLB LEAGUE DIVISIONAL SERIES VIEWERSHIP
YEAR
GAMES
OVERALL (000)
TBS (000)
FS1 (000)
MLB NET (000)
'18
14
3,183
4,315
2,303
2,063
'17
17
3,639
3,743
3,817
2,716
'16
15
3,277
2,893
3,694
2,840
'15
19
3,861
5,452
2,795
1,608
'14
14
3,151
3,572
3,120
1,798
Download the
MLB LDS Viewership Trend

NOT TOP DOGS YET: Astros 3B Alex Bregman, after the defending World Series champions swept the Indians in the ALDS, was unhappy about his team's lack of primetime TV games during the series, and NBC Sports Bay Area's Dave Feldman said it is because MLB wants the "most eyes on the most popular thing, and they don't believe it's Houston, so that's the way it is." Feldman: "The fact that they're the defending champs didn't mean anything." NBC Sports Bay Area's Ray Ratto: "(Bregman) can complain that nobody respects them even though they're the world champs, but nobody is paying attention to that anymore" ("The Happy Hour," NBC Sports Bay Area, 10/9). ESPN's Sarah Spain said the question about primetime TV spots is "not whether or not (the Astros are) the best team, it's the team that gets the most eyes." Spain: "While I agree they deserve more eyeballs, it's going to be the Dodgers, the Red Sox and the Yankees." The Washington Post's Kevin Blackistone said the Astros "deserve to be the primetime team" because "they're fun to watch." The Boston Globe's Bob Ryan said it is "not fair" to the Astros and they "deserve to be there." Ryan: "But it has nothing to do with fairness and everything to do with TV ratings" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 10/9).

PROS & CONS: In N.Y., Andrew Marchand wrote the TBS broadcast for the first three games of Red Sox-Yankees "lacked a big-game feel that is usually felt on Fox's playoff games." Play-by-play man Brian Anderson is "solid, but very dry," while analyst Ron Darling's "best skill is observation, not delivery, which is straightforward." Marchand: "There isn't much pizzazz" (N.Y. POST, 10/10). Marchard adds that TBS is doing a "good job of having fun with MLB pre- and postgame." The net is putting its studio analysts "in a position to laugh and feel free" (NYPOST.com, 10/11). Meanwhile, MLB Net's Chris Russo said to give TBS' Lauren Shehadi a "tremendous amount of credit" for her ALDS coverage. Russo: "Her questions have been tremendous, short and sweet and that's not easy during the game" ("High Heat," MLBN, 10/9).