‘Discipline of Goals’ MLB baseball sport attracts 5.9 million viewers for Fox

Members of the Chicago White Sox celebrate on the homeplate after Tim Anderson # 7 of the Chicago White Sox in the ninth inning against the New York Yankees on 12th, Iowa.

Ron Vesely | Getty Images Sports | Getty Images

Major League Baseball’s Field of Dreams game was a dream come true for Fox Sports.

The network announced the MLB film competition between the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox, which drew an average of 5.9 million viewers via TV and streaming and was the network’s most-watched regular season MLB game since The Yankees-Boston Red Sox competition on October 1 also drew around 5.9 million viewers.

The game was played in Dyersville, Iowa, in a ballpark next to a cornfield, which depicts the scene from the 1989 Universal Pictures film starring Kevin Costner. Costner cinematically stepped in from the cornfield, followed by Yankees and White Sox players wearing throwback uniforms.

The White Sox beat the Yankees 9-8 in a Hollywood-like ending. Thursday’s game ended with a home run in the ninth inning from White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson. That two-run score came after Yankees thugs Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton posted their two-run homers in the top of the ninth after trailing 7-4. Stanton’s hit gave the Yankees an 8-7 lead until Anderson saved the White Sox’s dream from turning into a nightmare.

Fox Sports said the game peaked between 8:45 PM and 9:00 PM Eastern Time, with approximately 6 million viewers, and among the top markets to watch the game outside of Chicago and New York were St. Louis, Kansas City, and Hartford, Conn.

On the promotional side, a Fox Sports manager estimated the network would generate record sales from every other regular season MLB game broadcast on the network, according to the Sports Business Journal. However, the executive did not name a number.

Kevin Krim, founder and CEO of advertising metrics data company EDO, said brands generated NFL-like impressions around search. Using analytics that track brand and product searches and sales when ads are shown, EDO helps businesses and networks determine the value of an ad at sporting events.

The company has clients such as Fox Sports, ESPN and CNBC’s parent company NBCUniversal.

Krim said one of the top ads was Hyundai’s 30-second ad, which drew 35,000 incremental searches in the minutes after the Field of Dreams game aired. “That would be a really good number for a prime-time NFL game,” Krim told CNBC, adding that NFL games on Thursday night draw an average of 43,000 searches related to automobile advertising.

Crimea said a segment of marketers looking to be “innovative” are drawn to bespoke sporting events like the MLB’s Field of Dreams game and the National Hockey League’s Winter Classic. “And it certainly helps the networks sell something new,” he added. “It takes a slow time of the year and it gives you something to sell.”

It also helped that two competitive teams were playing. The Yankees are still in playoff competition, just seven games away from first place, and the White Sox have a comfortable 11.5 game lead over AL Central. Plus, MLB now has little competition from other sports – it just had to compete with the NBA Summer League games and NFL preseason competitions.

The Field of Dreams game was originally supposed to host a White Sox Cardinals competition during the 2020 season but has been postponed due to the pandemic.

Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees players run through the corn rows as they are featured before the game on August 12, 2021 at the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa.

Ron Vesely | Getty Images Sports | Getty Images

“It’s the kind of presentation MLB should be doing all the time,” said former Oakland Athletics Executive Vice President Andy Dolich. “It shows baseball’s ability to tell stories. Anytime you can present an event and get people’s attention at all levels what this did, try to scale it to a year, but not overdo it. “

Official attendance was 7,832, with some premium tickets selling for $ 10,000. Given the hype and commitment surrounding this year’s competition, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said another Field of Dreams game is planned for the 2022 season – should MLB avoid a work stoppage.

“I think the response to this event was so positive that we will be back,” Manfred said on MLB.com. “I think it’s pretty clear we’ll be back next year, and after that we have to talk about it. But it was just so successful that it’s hard not to take the opportunity to do it again.”

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