Ratings Roundup: MLB All-Star Game Hits Four-Year High for Fox; ESPN’s Rain-Delayed HR Derby Worst Since 1997

Fox’s MLB All-Star Game coverage on Tuesday night scored a 7.0 fast-national household rating, with an average audience of 11.34 million, making it the the highest-rated, most-watched All-Star Game since 2010 (7.5/13, with 12.1 million viewers). Given that the household rating for last year’s game increased from 2012 (6.9 vs. 6.8), this marks the first time that the MLB All-Star Game has posted ratings increases in consecutive years since 1993 and 1994. The 2014 MLB All-Star Game posted a +1% increase over last year’s 6.9 HH rating and up 3% on average audience (11.34 vs. 11.0 million viewers) and ranks as FOX’s highest-rated and most-watched broadcast since American Idol on Feb. 5.  The MLB All-Star Game is the highest-rated All-Star event among major sports this year (Pro Bowl is No. 2 at 6.6/10). Host city Minneapolis/St. Paul led all markets with a 16.6 rating, +57% from 2013 and the market’s best ASG rating since 2008.  Detroit followed with a 15.1, then St. Louis (14.3); Pittsburgh (12.4 – best since host year 2006).

Early tune-in for the All-Star Game was strong, as interest in Derek Jeter’s final appearance drove viewing up +9% for the game’s first full half-hour (8:30-9:00 PM ET, 7.5/13 vs. 6.9/12). The strong early tune-in directly led to consistently high viewership figures in each half-hour from 8:30-10:00 PM ET (8:30-9:00 PM – 12.3 million; 9:00-9:30 – 12.2 mil.; and 9:30-10:00 PM – 12.2 mill.) while Jeter remained in the game…

…Monday’s Home Run Derby, which was delayed an hour due to rain, earned a 3.4 U.S. rating and 5.4 million viewers, down 17% in ratings and 19% in viewership from last year (4.1, 6.7M) and down 17% and 22%, respectively, from 2012 (4.1, 6.9M). The 3.4 rating is the lowest for the Home Run Derby since at least 1997 (ratings prior to 1998 were not available), falling below the previous mark of 3.5 in 2003. (SportsMediaWatch)…

…On a positive note for ESPN, its MLB coverage (through 42 games) is experiencing double-digit viewership and ratings growth, averaging 1,242,000 viewers (p2+), up 11 percent versus 2013 (1,123,000). Additionally, ESPN is averaging a 0.9 U.S. household rating, up 13 percent from last year’s 0.8. Sunday Night Baseball is averaging 1,983,000 viewers and a 1.3 rating, up nine percent and eight percent, respectively, versus 2013 (1,826,000 viewers, 1.2 rating). ESPN is experiencing ratings increases across key demos for its MLB coverage, including 20 percent in M25-54 (0.6 vs. 0.5) and 33 percent in P18-49 (0.4 vs. 0.3). MLB games on WatchESPN are also up 72% in average minute audience and 68 percent in unique viewers…

…The YES Network’s New York Yankees telecasts are enjoying a 24% year-over-year increase in Total Viewers season-to-date in the New York DMA, and YES finished the first half of the 2014 broadcast year as the most-watched regional sports network (RSN) in the country in both Primetime and Total Day delivery.  New York Yankees games on YES averaged 283,000 Total Viewers in the New York DMA heading into the Major League Baseball All-Star break, a 24% year-over-year increase season-to-date (228,000 Total Viewers heading into the 2013 All-Star Break)

Yankees Pre-Game Show Total Viewership is up 28% from the same period last season. Yankees Post-Game Show Total Viewership is up 19% from the same period last season. YES’s live simulcasts of ESPN Radio New York’s The Michael Kay Show, which debuted on YES February 3rd, 2014, have experienced Viewership so far that is 36% greater than the average Total Viewers YES had in the same time slot over the same period in 2013 with The Mike Francesa Show (19,000 Average Total Viewers in 2014 in the New York DMA vs. 14,000 Average Total Viewers in 2013)…

…Midway through the 2014 Tour de France, NBCSN’s nightly Tour Primetime show is averaging 243,000 viewers — its best start since Lance Armstrong’s comeback in 2009 and up 40% from 2013 (174,000). NBCSN’s live Tour de France coverage is averaging 284,000 viewers — up 13% from last year at this point (251,000)…

TNT final NASCAR Sprint Cup race on Sunday Afternoon from New Hampshire earned a 2.7 U.S. rating and 4.3 million viewers on TNT Sunday afternoon, down 16% in ratings and 13% in viewership from last year (3.2, 4.9M). This year’s race ranks as the lowest rated since at least 1998 and the least-viewed since at least 2000. (SportsMediaWatch)