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What Is the Most Watched MLB Home Run Derby of All Time?

  • The 2008 MLB Home Run Derby is the most-watched derby ever with 9.1 million viewers.
  • Three of the top five most-watched MLB Home Run derbies had less than 100 home runs hit in total.
July 14, 2008; Bronx, NY, USA; American League outfielder Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers follows through on a swing during the first round of the 2008 All Star home run derby at Yankee Stadium. Hamilton hit a first round record 28 home runs. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
Josh Hamilton at the 2008 Home Run Derby in Yankee Stadium. Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

At its height, the MLB Home Run Derby was watched by nearly 10 million viewers. Recently, viewership has not been as strong as expected, but Major League Baseball hopes new technological innovations and format changes will rekindle strong numbers in 2024 and beyond.

The most-watched MLB Home Run derbies share similar characteristics: enticing matchups that go down to the wire and plenty of home runs.

The 2008 MLB Home Run Derby is the most-watched derby ever with 9.1 million viewers. Fans tuned in to catch Josh Hamilton of the Rangers slug 28 home runs in the first round, setting a record.

Justin Morneau eventually won, beating Hamilton in a close final round 5 to 3.

Second is the 2017 MLB Home Run Derby which drew 8.6 million viewers. The viewership rating reflected a 55% increase from the previous year. The winner, Aaron Judge, hit four home runs over 500 feet during the event.

The 2017 edition was the third year with new rule changes to the format, designed to speed things up to keep audiences interested.

The only other derby with at least 8 million viewers is the 2009 MLB Home Run Derby, which ranks third. 

Compared to 2008, the 2009 derby was a disappointing showing with 8.25 million viewers, a 9.5% year-over-year decline. It ran much longer than the scheduled two hours and had one of the lowest total home runs hit of the most-watched derbies.

Prince Fielder eventually won, beating Nelson Cruz in the last round 6 to 5, but only 82 home runs were hit on the night.

But more home runs don’t necessarily guarantee higher viewership. Three of the top five most-watched MLB Home Run derbies had less than 100 home runs hit in total.

The 2021 MLB Home Run Derby had the most home runs hit of any derby listed with 309. Even though that year’s version marked a renaissance in viewership amid a downward trend, it’s only tied for sixth with 7.1 million viewers.

Ranking The Most Watched MLB Home Run Derbies Ever

Here is the list of the top 10 most watched MLB Home Run Derbies based on total viewership. The list was compiled using historical data from Sports Business Journal and ESPN Press Room.

  • Updated: July 3, 2024
RankingYearWinnerTotal Home Runs (All Contestants)Total Viewers
12008Justin Morneau1059.1 million
22017Aaron Judge1958.6 million
32009Prince Fielder828.25 million
T-42004Miguel Tejada887.7 million
T-42002Jason Giambi727.7 million
T-62021Pete Alonso3097.1 million
T-62015Todd Frazier1597.1 million
82012Prince Fielder826.9 million
92022Juan Soto2916.88 million
T-102007Vladimir Guerrero Sr.746.8 million
T-102006Ryan Howard876.8 million

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