Mets-Cubs, Sosa generate just so-so ratings in Japan

Major league opener gets lukewarm reception

TOKYO — Major League Baseball’s bid to bring its product to the second largest economy in the world with a season-opening series in Japan between the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets resulted in a moderate ratings performance.

The Major League opening game, which the Cubs won 5-3, scored a rating of 13.6 for its primetime broadcast on Fuji TV, according to ratings agency Video Research. Other major nets scored high ratings for shows in about the same timeslot, with an NTV detective story taking a 15.4 and a variety show on TBS called “Happy Family Plan” also beating the big leaguers with a rating of 15.3.

The Mets and Cubs did their best work on Japanese television when they were trounced by Tokyo’s Yomiuri Giants in two preseason exhibition games.

Monday’s broadcast on NTV of the Cubs vs. the Giants, which the Giants won easily by holding Sammy Sosa hitless, fetched an 18.1 rating. It was the second highest-rated show for the timeslot, with a TBS drama taking top honors with a mark of 19.8, Video Research said.

The Mets also lost to the Giants but were able to do a little bit better in terms of ratings with an 18.7, but the game also lost out to a program on TBS called “Let’s Go to School,” which had a 24.0.

NTV broadcast the final game of the series on Thursday.

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