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MLB's Home Run Derby a Big Hit in Ratings & Social Media
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10 Jul 2012 05:06 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Prince Fielder admires blast during Monday night’s Home Run Derby. (Image Source: Getty Images)

On Monday night, Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder won the State Farm Home Run Derby, becoming just the second player to win the celebrated event more than once.

According to Nielsen, 6.9 million viewers saw Fielder blast moonshot after moonshot in Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium, for a rating of 4.81, marking a three-percent increase from the 2011 Home Run Derby [4.67 rating, 6.7 million viewers]. Kansas City led all markets, as the host city brought home a rating of 15.1, which is second among host cities since 2002, only bettered by St. Louis in 2009.

The hometowns of the two Home Run Derby captains, Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees and Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers, also represented well. New York’s rating was 6.67, a 10 percent increase from last year when Cano won the event. Los Angeles saw an even bigger bump, increasing ratings by 47 percent up to 4.62. In addition to featuring Kemp, Los Angeles Angel Mark Trumbo represented the American League team.

Complementing the Home Run Derby was the second “Social Media Derby”, which allowed players to use social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook in real time during the event. Over 800,000 comments were generated on Twitter and Facebook by the live on-field interaction by the Major League players. According to Bluefin, that’s a 158 percent increase from last season when live social media interaction produced 312,117 comments.

The hash tag #HRDerby was trending worldwide throughout the Home Run Derby and was part of 274,635 comments. The Twitter peak came during the final round when Fielder battled Toronto Blue Jay Jose Bautista for the Home Derby crown, at which point all of the top 10 worldwide trends were connected to the Home Run Derby.

Thanks in large part to their live tweeting from the field, several players saw a major increase in their Twitter following during the 24 hours surrounding the Home Run Derby [9:00 a.m. ET on Monday to 9:00 a.m. ET on Tuesday], including Bautista [@JoeyBats19], Cano [@RobinsonCano], Trumbo [@Mtrumbo44], Angels rookie Mike Trout [@Trouty20] and Pittsburgh Pirates MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen [@TheCUTCH22]. Fielder does not tweet.

With more than 26,000 new followers, Cano added the most, followed by Bautista’s 19,646 new followers. Trumbo saw the biggest percentage increase, receiving a 73.9 percent bump in followers.

Major League Baseball will look to build on the success of the Home Run Derby tonight during the 83rd All-Star Game. For the first time, there will be computer stations set up adjacent to each clubhouse, which will allow the participating players to communicate with fans through social media once they have been removed from the game.

MLB, the MLB Players Association and MLB Advanced Media have collaborated with support from FOX for tonight’s social media project.

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of American. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards.

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