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Volume 26 No. 229
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Rays-A's Wild Card Overnight Rating Lower On ESPN

ESPN and ESPN2 last night combined to draw a 3.6 overnight rating for the Rays’ 5-1 win over the A’s in the AL Wild Card. That figure is among the lowest figures for a Wild Card game since the one-game format was introduced in ’12. The lowest figure remains a 3.2 for D-backs-Rockies in ’12 on TBS. For ESPN alone last night, the game drew a 3.1. Two other games -- Blue Jays-Orioles in ’16 (up against VP debate) and Cardinals-Braves in ’12 (Friday afternoon) -- drew a 3.3 overnight, while Tuesday night’s Nationals-Brewers game drew a 3.5 on TBS. It took a 0.5 overnight for the Statcast broadcast on ESPN2 to get to 3.6 for the game last night. Rays-A’s won primetime for cable TV last night, but had some headwinds from increased figures on cable news networks. The telecast also featured teams that are the ranked Nos. 27 (A's) and 28 (Rays) nationally in terms of team popularity (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

SNEAK PREVIEW: In Minneapolis, Howard Sinker notes after "initially declining to do so, Comcast will offer a free MLB Network preview in the Twin Cities that will allow all of its subscribers to watch" Twins-Yankees ALDS Game 1 tomorrow. If Comcast had "held to its original plan, Comcast subscribers who didn't subscribe to one of its top tiers of service could have watched the game by signing up for a free trial of a web stream service such as YouTube TV." Fans doing that "would have needed to cancel before the free trial ended to avoid being billed." The other games of the Twins-Yankees series "will be shown on FS1" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 10/3).

BACK WHERE HE BELONGS: In DC, Michael Brice-Saddler notes David Ortiz will "return to Fox as a studio analyst" for the '19 postseason -- "nearly four months after he was shot in the back." Ortiz "joined the Fox broadcast as a guest analyst" for the '14 World Series and has been a "staple of the network's MLB coverage since." Ortiz "hinted at his own return in a tweet Tuesday, which included a photo" of him, Alex Rodriguez, Kevin Burkhardt and Frank Thomas during a broadcast (WASHINGTON POST, 10/3).

SHAKING OFF THE RUST: In N.Y., Andrew Marchand writes TBS "wasn't up to the task" of broadcasting the Nationals-Brewers NL Wild Card on Tuesday. It "started with choosing Ernie Johnson over Brian Anderson on play-by-play." The nationally televised game marked Johnson and analysts Jeff Francoeur and Ron Darling's "first ever broadcast together." They were "not positioned to fully succeed and it showed" (N.Y. POST, 10/3).