Philadelphia has a case of Phillies fever. The numbers are in from Bryce Harper's spring training debut and they're simply incredible.
Just how many people watched Harper's two plate appearances in red pinstripes on Saturday? Here's an excerpt from a press release sent by NBC Sports Philadelphia:
The network earned a 2.9 HH rating, up 311% over this year's Spring Training average. NBCSP was the #1 network in the market across all key demographics and was the highest-rated Phillies Spring Training game since April 2012. Harper was the designated hitter, and the game peaked with a 4.0 HH Rating when he took his first at-bat.
On digital, the game on Saturday delivered 13.5K uniques and 546K live stream minutes, making it the most-streamed Phillies Spring Training game ever. The game was up 108% among uniques, and 154% among minutes compared to the 2019 Spring Training streaming average.
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In addition to the audience watching on TV and on the MyTeams App, a sellout crowd of 10,276 people packed Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Fla. to witness the debut in person, including these fans, who drove nearly the entire length of the East Coast to make it in time.
Me and @Tom_Moshier: You're right, if we leave now we can make it from Binghamton, NY to Clearwater, FL in time for @bryceharper3's debut with the @Phillies tomorrow, but we've gotta come right back after the game to make it to work on Monday. #38HoursOnTheRoad pic.twitter.com/PkXXYnjcDh— Coach Andrew Sweeney (@Sweezy_F_Baby) March 8, 2019
While Harper didn't even officially record his first at-bat, he walked in his two plate appearances, the fans got a glimpse of what could be to come for many years in the heart of the Phillies lineup when Rhys Hoskins stepped to the plate in the first.
The marquee plate appearance of the first inning turns out to be Hoskins, who destroys a pitch to left!
2-0, Phillies pic.twitter.com/CUoFPT2cj0— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) March 9, 2019
In a time where the Phillies are attracting eyeballs and sales in record numbers, the Sixers lead the NBA in attendance, the Flyers are third in the NHL in attendance and the Eagles are at capacity every game, it's an incredible time to be a Philly sports fan and an equally incredible time to remind everyone just how great a sports city Philadelphia is.
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