ESPN's MLB Opening Day games draw average of 4 million viewers

People watch the game on television at Atlas Brew Works – Street Brewery and Tap Room during the home opener of the Washington Nationals against the New York Yankees at Nationals Park on Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

Salwan Georges | The Washington Post | Getty Images

Major League Baseball started its Covid-19 regular season Thursday night with a record average 4 million viewers, the most-watched regular-season MLB game on any network since 2011, according to ESPN, which aired the opener.

The New York Yankees beat the Washington Nationals, 4-1, in MLB’s 2020 Opening Day on ESPN. New Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole, who signed a $324 million deal last December, earned his first victory for the team.

According to ESPN, the telecast was up “232% from last year’s Opening Night telecast between the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners,” which drew 1.2 million viewers. The game peaked at 4.4 million viewers around 8:30 p.m.

“It also generated a 7.8 rating in the New York market, making it the highest-rated regular season MLB game on ESPN in the market since 2015,” ESPN said.

Also, the network’s second game, between the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, generated an average of 2.7 million viewers, making it “ESPN’s most-watched MLB regular season late night ET game ever.”

MLB resumes its Opening Day contests Friday with 14 games on the schedule.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that Major League Baseball has 14 games scheduled for Friday.

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