ESPN is showing huge gains throughout the NCAA Men’s College World Series this year. The Road to Omaha has never done particularly well in the ratings, save for a few hardcore college baseball fans.
That isn’t the case this year, though.
The worldwide leader in sports is seeing numbers skyrocket when compared to last season viewership numbers. In a release on their own website on Tuesday, ESPN reported the surprising boost in viewership across the board for the tournament.
Leading into the College World Series Finals, ESPN’s College World Series overnight ratings (June 17-June 24) are up 50% from last year, and is the most-streamed early-round ever.
A lot of this can be attributed to the fact that ESPN has made more of a commitment to making the games accessible to willing viewers. The majority of the college baseball season goes untelevised, leaving it difficult for the casual fan to become invested int he team.
This year they’ve shown far more early round games, and it’s proved beneficial.
The timing of the MLB Draft is also important. With intense coverage of the annual talent draft running concurrently with the tournament, the two fed off each other. There were a number of big-name, marketable players in this draft. Some of the viewership spike could be a result of fans wanting to watch the future stars before they turn pro.
College baseball has a long way to go before it is a ratings giant like its football and basketball counterparts, but this is positive growth in that direction.