Giants-Dodgers Game On Opening Day Sets ESPN Ratings Record
Dodger Stadium view, Dodgers fans cutouts
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

With the Los Angeles Dodgers facing the San Francisco Giants in an Opening Series at Dodger Stadium, three of the four games were selected for an exclusive national TV broadcast. That began Opening Day, with the Giants-Dodgers game just one of two played Thursday.

First pitch at Dodger Stadium came at 7:08 p.m. as part of a doubleheader on ESPN. The defending World Series champion Washington Nationals hosted the New York Yankees in the network’s first game, though it went into a rain delay and was eventually called.

It still drew record ratings for ESPN, and so too did the nightcap between the longtime West Coast rivals. The game generated an average audience of 2,764,000 viewers to become ESPN’s most-watched MLB regular season late night ET game ever.

The broadcast drew a 6.9 rating in the San Francisco market, making it the highest-rated regular season MLB game in the market since 2013. The telecast drew a 6.8 rating in L.A., good for the highest-rated regular season in the market since the Dodgers faced the Colorado Rockies for Game 163 at the end of the season to decide the National League West.

Fans who tuned in on Opening Day received a bit of a surprise with Dustin May starting for the Dodgers. He took the place of Clayton Kershaw, who was forced to the 10-day injured list because of back stiffness.

Beyond the Dodgers being among the World Series favorites this season, there was heightened excitement around the season opener because Mookie Betts was making his official debut with the team. Furthermore, Betts was a mere one day removed from signing a record-breaking 12-year contract extension.

Dodgers games on national TV

The Dodgers are back on ESPN as the second half to their weekly Sunday Night Baseball telecast. Matt Vasgersian, Alex Rodriguez and Buster Olney will call the game from ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. studios.

In addition to ESPN, the Dodgers have games remaining on Fox and FS1 throughout the season. TBS is also carrying their Aug. 16 matchup with the L.A. Angels.

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