Despite concerns over a truncated 60-game season and empty seats in stadiums, Major League Baseball’s opening week has been a resounding success. Games aired nationally during opening weekend (July 23-26) drew more than twice as many viewers as a year ago. Walt Disney’s (NYSE:DIS) ESPN said that its first 12 broadcasted games averaged ~1.2M viewers, up 34% compared to last year. Fox Sports (NASDAQ:FOX) also enjoyed a double-digit rise in ratings. According to Michael Mulvihill, Fox Sports head of strategy and analytics, the strong start reflects pent-up demand and little competition from other major U.S. sports. The season, though, is facing its first stern test after 18 members of the Miami Marlins tested positive for COVID-19 leading to the cancellations of certain games by several clubs. 17 games have been postponed to date.
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