MLB playoffs pay off for TBS


NEW YORK — Turner Sports’ divisional-series baseball package got off to a strong start Wednesday as the first Angels-Red Sox game became the highest-rated program on TBS since Aug. 17, 2003.

Nielsen Media Research estimated that 5.5 million viewers tuned into see Game 1 of the American League Divisional Series, in which the Boston Red Sox cruised to a 4-0 victory over Los Angeles. Turner said that it was the highest-rated telecast on TBS since the original movie “Red Water” brought in a 5.0 rating. It also was Wednesday’s top program on cable.

The game was ahead of last year’s comparable game on ESPN, St. Louis Cardinals-San Diego Padres, which averaged 2.5 million viewers.

Meanwhile, Game 1 between the Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League averaged 5.1 million viewers when it began after 10 p.m. EDT. The game, which the Diamondbacks won 3-1, was the most audience for an NLDS game since 2003, when the Cubs played the Atlanta Braves in Game 3 and brought in 8.1 million viewers.

The first game Wednesday, the Colorado Rockies vs. the Philadelphia Phillies, averaged 3.2 million viewers in the afternoon. It was up from last year’s first game, Oakland A’s-Minnesota Twins, which averaged 1.8 million viewers on ESPN.

Nielsen said the Angels-Red Sox game averaged a 27.2 rating in Boston and a 19.7 rating in nearby Providence, R.I. The Cubs-Diamondbacks averaged an 18.1 rating in Chicago and a 15.2 rating in Phoenix.