TBS scored big in its first day carrying Major League Baseball’s League Division Series on Wednesday, averaging 4.54 million viewers over the course of three consecutive games from 1:30 p.m. to post-midnight.
That total edged out the 4.48 million who tuned in to the equivalent of two ESPN games and one Fox contest last year. TBS won’t be sharing the divisional series with any other network.
The disparity year-to-year was particularly pronounced with the second game, between the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Boston Red Sox, which averaged 5.46 million, making it the most-watched program on TBS since August 2003, when it ran an original movie called “Red Water.”
The ratings also outstripped last year’s second game on ESPN by triple digits; the game drew more viewers than any other show on cable TV for the night.
The third game of TBS’ schedule between the Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks harvested 5.13 million viewers, making it the second most-watched program on cable Wednesday, despite starting at 10 p.m. ET.
It ended up as the highest-rated National League Divisional Series game on cable since an Atlanta-Chicago Game 3 in 2004. But it finished well behind the comparable game on the Fox network last year between the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers.
For the LCS this year, which starts on Thursday, TBS gets the National League and Fox gets the American League; TBS and Fox will alternate the two leagues each year through 2013. Fox gets the World Series each year.