The New York Yankees coming to town for any MLB team usually means increased attendance; for the Los Angeles Dodgers last night that increased attendance plus a ballgame that ended on a walk-off single meant a playoff atmosphere and a captive television audience.
An average of 603,000 viewers tuned in during the 7:00-10:00 window according to the overnight data provided by Nielsen Media Research. As Tom Hoffarth points out, that number was very nearly affected by the ongoing dispute between Time Warner and CBS. Viewership peaked for the final quarter hour with the game tied up, with 814,000 viewers tuning in to watch Mark Ellis knock in Andre Ethier with Vin Scully calling the whole thing.
Those household figures represent a significant chunk of the Los Angeles television market. The game delivered a 7.0 rating and a 12 share, making it the highest rated Dodger game on any broadcast or cable outlet since June 25, 1998. That Dodger-Angel tilt pulled a 7.4 rating, in the second year of Interleague Play. Strangely, the game wasn't that well attended: 38, 254 on a Thursday night.
The rating represents the percentage of households with televisions in Los Angeles that were tuned into the game. So that 603k figure is around 7% of the television watching households in LA. The share represents the percentage of televisions in use that are tuned to the game. It can get confusing, but it's why the share is usually a larger number.
Working in baseball's favor is summer television being particularly uninspiring. The game's biggest competition was America's Got Talent from 9-11 which pulled a 2.7/8 nationally on NBC. Fox ran a new episode of So You Think You Can Dance from 8-10, but it performed down at 1.4/5 nationally.
It's good news that the Dodgers are performing so well locally, and shows why Time Warner would invest so much money for the broadcast rights. The Dodgers being a big summer story is good for all that tie their ballon to the LA baseball club.
In the 25-54 demographic the Dodgers attracted a 4.0 rating and a 13 share, the highest rating for a Dodger game since KCAL became a broadcast partner.