Thursday night's Field of Dreams game that saw the White Sox win on a Tim Anderson walk-off homer, 9-8, over the Yankees was a major success. Not only was the game outstanding, with eight home runs, but the setting was aesthetically appealing and FOX did an excellent job with the broadcast.
On that final note, it very much paid off for Major League Baseball, as it announced that this was the most-watched regular season baseball game in 16 years, with 5,903,000 viewers. As expected, Chicago and New York ranked as the top two markets for this game.
The part that kind of blows my mind is that it's the biggest regular-season game since 2005. With the landscape of ways to consume content these days, it's awfully difficult to grab that kind of an audience against all those network, cable and streaming options.
This particular game will continue and will likely be popular, but part of the huge number was that it was the first time. One of the biggest benefits here was that most baseball fans really only watch their favorite team and by now a lot of them are checked out due to rooting for a non-contender. The Field of Dreams game on Thursday night seemed to captivate a large percentage of sports fans out there, not just Yankees and White Sox fans.
The huge numbers say MLB is onto something. It goes to show what a great idea this game was and that Major League Baseball would be wise to explore different avenues here to get casual fans' eyeballs.
I've already done a list of five possible options and there are many more ideas out there with merit. It was a special game and there's always room for more of that, especially when the ratings illustrate just how well it went over.