Baseball’s Field of Dreams stunt was an unqualified success, as Fox’s presentation of the Yankees-White Sox cornfield slugfest now stands as the most-watched regular-season MLB broadcast in 16 years.
The game, which featured eight home run blasts, including Tim Anderson’s two-run walkoff in the bottom of the ninth, averaged 5.9 million viewers across Fox and Fox Deportes. The last time a non-playoff game scared up a bigger TV audience was on Oct. 1, 2005, when the Yankees clinched the AL East title with an 8-4 win at Fenway Park.
To put last night’s deliveries in perspective, the Field of Dreams Game drew more viewers than all but one of the 14 League Championship Series broadcasts in 2020. (The deciding game in the Dodgers-Braves set averaged 9.66 million viewers.)
The game also averaged a 1.5 rating in the dollar demo, or three times what Fox usually serves up with its Saturday MLB package. As such, nearly 2 million adults 18-49 took in Thursday night’s broadcast, accounting for 33% of Fox’s overall audience. The Field of Dreams gimmick helped draw a greater concentration of the under-50 set; per Nielsen, adults 18-49 accounted for 22% of the overall viewership for Fox’s nine previous baseball broadcasts in 2021.
The two top markets for Thursday’s game were Chicago, which registered an 11.2 household rating and a 25 share—in other words, one-quarter of all Windy City TVs that were in use during the broadcast were tuned to Fox—and New York, which served up a 6.6 rating and a 14 share, edging St. Louis’ 6.0/13.
The game, which was sponsored by Geico, handily outperformed advertisers’ expectations. Fox made a tidy bundle on the Iowa outing, taking in some $5.24 million in ad sales revenue, per iSpot.tv estimates, or around three times what the network usually generates with its Saturday night MLB coverage. According to Nielsen, Fox’s three July games averaged 2.3 million viewers.
Among the top-spending advertisers in Thursday night’s broadcast included official MLB sponsors Geico and T-Mobile, as well as Jersey Mike’s, Hyundai and Apple TV+.
In a pregame press conference, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed that the league will try its hand at a second Field of Dreams production in 2022. “The reception that this event has received has been so positive that … I think it’s pretty clear we’re going to be back next year,” said Manfred, who spoke to reporters alongside Kevin Costner, the star of the 1989 film. “We’ll have to talk about it again after that, but it’s just been so successful that it’s hard not to take the opportunity to do it again.”
Manfred did not say which clubs would participate in the next Iowa outing.