Despite heading into the dog days of summer, ESPN's baseball ratings have gone up.
A lot of attention has been paid to Major League Baseball this summer, and not all of it good. The A-Rod and Ryan Braun scandals have drawn a lot of eyeballs. But the ratings figures coming in for the Worldwide Leader suggest what we already suspect: that viewers just want to watch good baseball sometimes.
ESPN's game telecasts on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday night are up 29 percent, going from an 0.7 to an 0.9 rating since the All-Star break, according to Nielsen Media Research. Sunday Night Baseball is averaging the highest, a 1.4. That's up 27 percent from the same period of last year. Monday and Wednesday nights, which are the nights that have often featured steroid story coverage mixed in, have gone up 17 and 25 percent respectively. The network hasn't exactly gone too far with the Yankees and Red Sox the past month, so the growth is very encouraging.
Baseball Tonight, meanwhile, has certainly been the beneficiary of the high-profile news stories. The 10 p.m. ET edition of the show has drawn an 0.4 rating, up 33 percent from an 0.3 last year. Finally, ESPN's digital assets related to baseball (i.e. the MLB section of ESPN) is up 25 percent in average minute audience. It's good times for MLB as they head into the pennant chases of September.