MLB’s New Rules Working? League Boasts Most Watched Opening Day Ever

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Major League Baseball seems to be pretty happy with how opening day went. With all 30 teams in action on opening day for the first time in decades, the league says it had its most-watched opening day in history.

It sure seems like the league is pretty jazzed about how things went on Thursday. Those are statistics from the league’s MLB.TV platform, which would’ve probably seen a jump in total minutes based solely on there being more baseball to watch.

Still, even anecdotally, it seemed like people were more excited about Opening Day ’23 than they’ve been in a long time.

The main reason for that was of course several major rule changes, most notably the addition of a pitch clock.

Of course, a lot of those rules were intended to make the game more appealing to new fans. That seems to have done its job for now.

Shohei Ohtani
Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels stands next to the pitch clock. easily the most discussed new rule for the 2023 MLB season. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

If The New Rules Seemed To Have Worked For One Day, Will They Keep Viewership Up?

It’ll get interesting to see if Major League Baseball can maintain the increased audiences that are being reported. There’s a good chance that the opening day jump stemmed from curiosity. Casual fans who wanted to learn how the pitch clock situation works or to see the new pizza box-sized bases.

If that newness wears off, then the rules will not have done their job, at least not long term.

So, then what do they do if the rules designed to bring in and maintain new fans fail?

Well, it seems like the worst thing that could happen is if Major League Baseball begins to see big rule changes as a way of boosting the viewership numbers at the start of the season.

Can you imagine Major League Baseball trying to come up with new rules every season? It would be complete chaos.

Eventually, it wouldn’t even resemble baseball anymore. It would just be a collection of gimmicks with an occasional flash of something that resembled baseball.

Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle

Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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