If you don’t think New York Yankees fans are hyped for the upcoming season, you’d better think again. The proof is in the television ratings, which have soared to record levels during spring training.
According to a Newsday report on Wednesday, Yankees spring training broadcasts on YES are up 89 percent over last spring’s ratings. That averages out to 1.53 percent more of New York homes that are tuning in to watch mostly meaningless baseball games. That number itself doesn’t look like a huge number, but when you consider how many actual homes that covers it’s quite significant.
The report also notes the Yankees are setting spring training viewership records on YES left and right.
The March 4 Rays-Yankees game averaged 145,000 viewers, the network’s most-viewed spring training game in five years.
On March 8, Phillies-Yankees averaged 1.39 percent of area homes, the highest such figure for a weekday afternoon spring game in YES history, beating a record set less than a week earlier.
Then YES broke the record again on Tuesday, averaging 1.53 percent of area homes against the Tigers.
On March 10, a Mets-Yankees game averaged 2.57 percent of homes, making it the second highest-rated spring game in YES history.
That was three days after Mets-Yankees on SNY averaged 2.05, making it the highest-rated Grapefruit League game in SNY history, surpassed among preseason games only by the Red Sox-Mets exhibition that opened Citi Field in 2009.
Those are crazy numbers for March.
The increase in interest can be directly connected to the team’s heightened expectations in 2018. The Yankees were as close to a rebuild as they’ll ever be at this time last season, but they’re back among baseball’s elite after missing the World Series by one game last season.
The Yankees have also reloaded in the star power department and now feature a lineup loaded with players who on their own are pretty big attractions.
Remember, Aaron Judge wasn’t anything close to the star he is now just 365 days ago. He became a star by hitting some of the most ridiculous home runs we’ve seen and in the process breaking MLB’s rookie home run record. Beyond that, Gary Sanchez cemented his status as the game’s top power-hitting catcher with 33 home runs. Oh, and you might have heard they added MLB’s top home run hitter, Giancarlo Stanton, to the mix.
Even in spring training, fans don’t want to miss a home run any of those sluggers hit.
The Yankees saw their regular season ratings increase as last season went along as well. The report notes that YES averaged 3.57 percent of area homes for regular-season Yankees games in 2017, up 57 percent from 2016. If the upward trend continues as the spring training ratings suggest it will in 2018, then YES executives will have a lot to be happy about.
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