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Cards home opener draws historic TV ratings

The Cardinals Thursday debut against the Padres on Fox Sports Midwest was the most-watched home opener in franchise history.

The broadcast of the 5-3 loss generated a 13.3 overall rating in the St. Louis market -- peaking at 17.4 -- according to Neilson Media Research. That was 11 percent higher than the 2010 home opener against the Astros scored with an 11.2 rating. The previous record was set in 2005 when the Cardinals home opener drew an 11.9 rating.

According to Neilson, a 13.3 rating means that 167,000 St. Louis households tuned in to watch at least part of the contest. A 17.4 rating equals about 219,000 households watching at one time. When you figure that four people live in an average household, somewhere between 668,000-876,000 people had their eyes on the game.

At the beginning of the pre-game festivities at Busch Stadium, public address announcer John Ulett said the Cardinals broadcasts on Fox Sports Midwest are the highest rated local market broadcasts in major league baseball. The games draw an average rating of 9.5.