After a long layoff, and amid some scheduling issues due to COVID-19, Major League Baseball's TV ratings are improving.
Through the third weekend of MLB action, 39 million unique viewers have watched 59 telecasts (661,017 per game), compared to 26 million over 45 broadcasts (577,777 per game) through the same period in 2019, according to Nielsen data MLB provided to Stephen Battaglio of the Los Angeles Times.
While that shows slight growth, ESPN's national MLB telecasts are averaging 1.2 million viewers, Battaglio notes. That's up 29% from last season's numbers.
Perhaps most encouraging is the rise in viewership among the 18-34 age group. ESPN has seen a 64% increase among men and an 83% uptick among women in that demographic.
Additionally, four million viewers watched the first game of the shortened MLB season on July 23 - Washington Nationals vs. New York Yankees - the highest regular-season total on any network since 2011.
Fans still aren't allowed to attend games, though there have been some rumblings about opening ballparks before the end of the season.