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07/15/2008 7:48 PM ET
2008 State Farm Home Run Derby draws largest audience ever for the event
6.2 million homes and 9.1 million delivered, ranks as most-watched telecast of 2008 on cable television; Major League Baseball and State Farm combine to raise $370,000 for Boys and Girls Clubs
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The State Farm Home Run Derby, which aired live from Yankee Stadium on ESPN on July 14, drew the largest household audience ever for the event with an average 6,184,000 homes tuning in based on Live + Same Day audience data from Nielsen Media Research. The telecast, which featured Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers hitting a record 28 home runs in the first round before falling to Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins in the final round, scored a 6.4 rating, marking a +25% increase over last year's coverage (5.1 rating, 4,778,000 homes).

The average 6.4 household rating, 6.2 million homes, and 9.1 million viewers delivered by the 2008 State Farm Home Run Derby rank it as the highest-rated and most-viewed telecast of the year on cable television.

The State Farm Home Run Derby ranked as the most-viewed program of the evening on television in total viewers, Men 18-34, Men 18-49, Men 25-54, Adults 18-34 Adults 18-49, and Adults 25-54. Monday's State Farm Home Run Derby led ESPN to win the night in primetime against all broadcast and cable networks in all of the above demos as well as Males 12-17 and Total teens.

The State Farm Home Run Derby also realized year-to-year rating increases across key demographics: Men 18-34 (+33%), Men 18-49 (+30%), Men 25-54 (+35%), Adults 18-34 (+39%), Adults 18-49 (+40%), Adults 25-54 (+42%), Males 12-17 (+72%), and Total teens (+48%).

For the second consecutive year, Major League Baseball and State Farm Insurance partnered to benefit Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the official charity of Major League Baseball, by donating a combined $17,000 for each home run hit by players after the ninth "out" of each at-bat. A total of 10 special gold baseballs, were hit out of Yankee Stadium, generating a total of $170,000 to be contributed to Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Additional contributions made by State Farm and Major League Baseball raised that amount to a total donation of $370,000.

The Taco Bell Legends and Celebrity Softball Game, which aired following the State Farm Home Run Derby on ESPN, registered a 2.5 HH rating and an average of 3.3 million viewers. The average audience of 3.3 million viewers who tuned in to the Taco Bell Legends and Celebrity Softball Game represents the largest audience for the event since 2002, and a 175% increase over last year (1,200,000 viewers) when the event aired from 12:06-1:05 a.m. The year's Celebrity Softball event ranked as the most-watched program on ad-supported cable in its time period in viewers, households, Men 18-34, Men 18-49, Men 25-54, Adults 18-49, and Adults 25-54.

Sunday afternoon's coverage of the XM All-Star Futures Game (ESPN2, 12:30 p.m.), which featured many of the top Minor League prospects in baseball, and pitted the 2008 Team USA Olympic trial team against the World Team, averaged 377,000 viewers and an average 0.3 HH rating.

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