2012 MLB season opens with strong TV ratings

With three games in the books, early signs point to fans of baseball on television being excited about the return of the national pastime.

Last night's Opening Night telecast on ESPN - a 4-1 victory by the defending World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals over the Miami Marlins in the debut of the new Marlins Park - registered a 5.4 rating in Miami, the highest rating ever on record for a regular season game on ESPN in Miami.

St. Louis registered the highest rating in the country at 15.9, the highest rating in any market for an Opening Night telecast on ESPN or ESPN2 in the past five years. Nationally, the game drew a 1.8 overnight rating in the metered markets, even with last year's Opening Night game between the Dodgers and Giants, also on ESPN.

The MLB Opening Series, two games that took place in Tokyo last week between the A's and Mariners, registered an 11.3 rating on Japanese network NTV. The rating marks a +10% increase from the 10.3 rating averaged between the Red Sox and Athletics in 2008, the last time MLB opened the season in Japan.

In today's Opening Day action, ESPN2 will feature the Red Sox at Tigers at 1:00 p.m. ET followed by the Marlins at Reds at 4:00 p.m. In tonight's only prime time game, MLB Network will present the Dodgers at Padres at 7:00 p.m. ET, featuring a simulcast of the Dodgers' local feed with the legendary Vin Scully in the booth.