We’ll see the Game 2 ratings later today, but the ratings for Game 1 are in, and they’re very, very high:
Game 1 was the second-highest-rated MLB postseason game since 1999. It was seen by 19.5 million viewers, which marked a 33 percent increase over last year’s Game 1. That increase also marked the second-biggest year-to-year increase in World Series Game 1 viewership since data was first collected in 1968, trailing just 1976-77 (56 percent increase).
The Yankees and Phillies are both from gigantic media markets, so it’s not surprising that the ratings are high. Throw in the marquee Sabathia vs. Lee matchup, and it’s even less surprising.
But last night’s Game may very well have set the stage for even better ratings — and if not ratings, certainly high-level excitement — down the road. The Yankees win keeps it close. Pedro Martinez’s lion-in-winter performance, even in a losing effort, was inspiring. The fact that we’re now four for four in strong starting pitching performances is another key factor: chicks may dig the longball, but pitching duels keep people riveted to the TV come October.
One game in was too soon to crown the Phillies champs, and two games in may be too soon to call this Classic a classic. But after two sharp games, it certainly feels like we’re heading in that direction.