Yankees/Red Sox Rivalry Regains Drawing Power

Posted by | August 9, 2011 at 11:58 PM

After a down year in 2010, the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry is again captivating television viewers.

The latest battle between the Yankees and Red Sox earned a 3.0 U.S. rating and 4.722 million viewers on ESPN Sunday night, up 100% and 105%, respectively, from the nineteenth Sunday night telecast last season (PHI/NYM: 1.5, 2.305M).

The game ranks as the most-viewed MLB telecast of the season on any network, and the most-viewed telecast on ESPN since 2007 (NYY/BOS: 5.304M).

On Saturday, regional MLB action featuring Yankees/Red Sox in 81% of TV markets earned 4.10 million viewers on FOX, up 59% from last year (CHC/STL*: 2.583M), and the most-viewed afternoon MLB telecast on the network since 2008 (BOS/NYY*: 4.538M).

Friday’s matchup earned 533,000 viewers on MLB Network, a season-high, and the network’s second-most viewed game ever. Keep in mind the MLB Network telecast was blacked out in Boston and New York.

Last year, the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry underperformed on ESPN and Fox Sports, with ratings for the rivals’ nationally televised Saturday afternoon and Sunday night games routinely finishing in the low 2.0 range.

(Asterisk indicates featured game of regional window; this year’s numbers from espnmediazone3.com, MLB press release via Fang’s Bites)