Claiming a continued upward ratings trend for baseball on the Spanish-language channel, ESPN Deportes says that it ended its exclusive coverage of the 2017 World Baseball Classic delivering top ratings.
The final — the championship game featuring the US vs Puerto Rico on 22 March — is said to have marked the largest audience for a baseball game on Spanish-language television and viewing for the overall tournament on ESPN Deportes finished up 67% compared with 2013.
The 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico that secured the US its first title saw ESPN Deportes deliver a record 364,000 viewers and a 1.6 Hispanic household rating. The simulcast on ESPN2 contributed an additional 397,000 viewers. The streaming audience provided a 4.6% lift to the linear telecast and added a 3.1% lift to linear coverage for the entire tournament and a total of 29 million minutes streamed. The final game on WatchESPN generated 197,000 live unique viewers, 8.8 million live minutes viewed and an average minute audience of 35,000, the largest non-football Spanish-language streaming audience.
Combined, ESPN Deportes, ESPN2 and the digital streaming audience saw a total cross-platform audience of 796,000. The network was the most-watched Spanish-language cable network on the day of the final among Hispanic viewers, and ESPN Deportes asserted that this out-delivered the closest competitor by 48%.
Baseball ratings on ESPN Deportes have been on a steady increase. The network finished the 2016 MLB season up 16% compared with 2015. Ratings for the 2017 edition of Serie del Caribe (Feb 1–9), were up 33% compared with 2016.