Apr 4, 2023
It will likely take months, if not years, to gain an objective analysis of the pitch clock's effect on MLB, but the preliminary numbers are highly encouraging.
MLB's Opening Day saw 172 million watched minutes on the league's MLB.tv streaming platform, shattering the platform's previous single-day record of 121 million by 42%, according to SportsPro. The previous high came on Opening Day 2021, the most recent previous on-time start to the MLB season.
The numbers on the league's nationally televised games were also encouraging. Per Front Office Sports, Fox Sports' season-opening doubleheader Saturday saw an average of 2.2 million viewers, up 10% from last year, while ESPN’s opening weekend averaged 1.6 million viewers, up 11%.
ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball" saw a milder gain of 4% from last year's average, with 1.5 million viewers. However, the ESPN2 "KayRod Cast" — ESPN's attempt to create a baseball version of the Manningcast with Alex Rodriguez and broadcaster Michael Kay — brought in 245,000 viewers, a larger portion of SNB viewers than expected.
That was a lot of numbers, but the takeaway is that more people are watching baseball five days into the season. It might be a step too far to say it's all thanks to the pitch clock and other rule changes, but it's also difficult to imagine that the changes and the ratings boost aren't related.
Source: Yahoo Sports