Tuesday’s historic Major League Baseball exhibition game on ESPN, in which the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Cuban National Team, was the most-watched MLB preseason telecast – Spring Training or exhibition – on any network since 2004, according to Nielsen. It generated 863,000 viewers (p2+) and peaked with 1,152,000 viewers from 3-3:15 p.m. ET, during President Barack Obama’s interview with ESPN MLB commentators Karl Ravech, Eduardo Perez and Doug Glanville. The final U.S. household rating was a 0.6.
On ESPN Deportes, the game delivered a 0.3 Hispanic household U.S. rating, reaching an average of 59,000 Hispanic viewers p2+, which is up 50 percent and 97 percent, respectively over the ESPN Deportes 2015 MLB regular-season average.
In addition, it became the most-streamed MLB preseason game ever on WatchESPN, generating 5.4 million total minutes viewed and 99,000 unique viewers. This beats the previous record of 1.2 million total minutes viewed and 27,000 unique viewers, set on March 17, 2015 for the Boston Red Sox-Atlanta Braves Spring Training game.
Tuesday’s exhibition was the first time Cuba has hosted a Major League Baseball game since March 28, 1999, when the Baltimore Orioles played the Cuban National Team. The game aired nationally on ESPN.