TV Ratings for Manchester City vs Chelsea on ESPN2 Revealed

Last weekend’s Premier League match between Manchester City and Chelsea, which was aired live on ESPN2 in the United States on Saturday, September 25 at 4:30am PT/7:30am ET, garnered a 0.3 rating and was viewed by a TV audience of 428,000.

The game featured the debut of host Rebecca Lowe alongside pundit Steve McManaman as well as commentary from Ian Darke and co-commentator Stewart Robson. The 428,000 number is quite impressive given that the record U.S. audience for a Premier League game is 526,000 for last April’s Manchester United versus Chelsea clash.

For context, “MLS games on ESPN2 are averaging 257,000 viewers for 18 telecasts through Aug. 17, down 9.5% from 284,000 viewers through the same period last year (17 telecasts) and down 10.1% from the same period in ’08 (16 telecasts),” according to Sports Business Daily. It should be noted that Major League Soccer games are generally shown in prime-time, while most Premier League games are shown during early morning weekend hours.

In unrelated news, Fox Networks just announced that Dish Network has dropped several regional Fox sports networks including FOX Sports Arizona, FOX Sports Carolinas, FOX Sports Detroit, FOX Sports Florida, FOX Sports Houston, FOX Sports Indiana, FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX Sports Midwest, FOX Sports North, FOX Sports Ohio, FOX Sports Oklahoma, FOX Sports Southwest, FOX Sports South, FOX Sports Tennessee, FOX Sports West, FOX Sports Wisconsin, Prime Ticket, SportSouth, and Sun Sports. Luckily, Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Soccer Plus are unaffected.

17 thoughts on “TV Ratings for Manchester City vs Chelsea on ESPN2 Revealed”

  1. How about a shout out for Stewart Robson? He was quite strong with Ian.

    Loved the pregame show with Rebecca and Mac. Much better than the garbage from Bristol we were force fed in the past !

    1. Regarding the irrationality of the dumbest TV provider DISH TV, I think back to last spring when fellow footie supporters were screaming for DirecTV to match DISH TV’s FSC HD broadcast! Well, patience is a virtue; DISH TV has a terrible reputation for bungling negotiations with content providers, and only a damn fool would ever consider signing up with DISH TV.

  2. I’m surprised that MLS viewing has gone down this year. I really thought that the World Cup would turn more people on to soccer and that they’d be interested in watching the home league in the US. It’s kind of a shame. Especially because I think the level of play is getting better. I had a few friends who usually only watch the EPL watch the Red Bulls/Galaxy game last week and they were all surprised at how good the game was.

  3. Matt, I’m not surprised at all. As mentioned, MLS Match of the Week coverage on ESPN2 is usually Thursday nights in primetime. The only thing that can even come close to drawing on a Thursday night/weekday primetime is NFL (MNF) and a big game on a Thursday in College Football (and those are rare). Otherwise, America is too preoccupied with stupid reality TV and tepid network dramas.

    1. Mike, sorry but that’s ridiculous. It sounds like an excuse to me. Thursday night prime-time is a perfect time to watch a soccer match. Imagine how high the Premier League TV ratings would be for a game played on a Thursday night (it would never happen, but just imagine).

      The Gaffer

  4. I’m stunned that the record EPL viewership is only twice that of typical MLS viewership. The Chelsea v Man City game was early and those numbers probably don’t count DVR recordings, which I’m certain it was recorded by many due to its time slot.

    As far as Dish Network “dropping” the Fox RSNs… that’s be Fox’s spin on it.

    1. Yespage, when you say you’re stunned, is that because you think the MLS numbers should be higher or lower in context against the Premier League numbers?

      In the past, before the last couple of seasons, MLS viewing audiences always used to be higher than Premier League.

      The Gaffer

  5. “It should be noted that Major League Soccer games are generally shown in prime-time, while most Premier League games are shown during early morning weekend hours.”

    It should also be noted that the EPL is undoubtedly more popular than MLS and constant attempts by “The Gaffer” to pretend that the EPL is somehow fighting a horrible uphill battle.

    It should also be noted that MLS matches last year, on average, did as well or better than the EPL matches based on the available numbers. But you will never read that here.

    1. MLS has a tiny tiny hardcore fan base. MLS gets zero attention from the national media.

      MLS is on in primetime and the entire national yawns. One game this season got 77K viewers on ESPN2 that is pathetic. I feel sorry for anyone who bought ad time for that game in primtime on a network that reaches 99.5 million homes. The EPL has no city in the US, lets stop pretending games are played here. The fact that 428K people at the crack of dawn will watch the EPL more then any MLS game this year shows you how irrelevant MLS is. I get it MLS has cheap tickets and tons of giveaways and massive discounts to be able to give the appearance it is growing so fast.

      Take out TFC and Seattle and what do you got? No tv audience local or national, no radio audience? Does every MLS team even get paid to be on radio and tv? Nope! and crap attendance without them. Funny how MLS fans will boast teams make a a 2.8 mil payroll I hope they can.

      Lets not forget MLS has the least amount of sports competition from June-August and only 15 home dates per team and most teams still can’t even get 20K in there games with cities of Millions.

      There is a reason the EPL, MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL all make multi-billions yearly, after next year they will all be making 3 billion or more each while MLS makes less then 250 mil claims teams make a profit but pay there players peanuts.

  6. Haha, EPL continues to kill the mickey mouse league. That’s good. If shows that Americans prefer quality football over teams that can’t even win in Guatemala.

    The Sounders, 2 time USOC champs, lost their FIRST FOUR CCL games. That shows you how pathetic the mickeymouse league is.

    EPL is where it’s at.

    1. Yeah them Mexican teams are so much better that’s why MLs teams wish they could have refs half as good as theirs, they are very good to the Mexican side. They might as well just tie one foot behind the back of the MLS players for the Concacaf games!

      The thing most people can’t deal with is the MLS has a fairly good product now but not as much audience as they deserve. It is just a matter of prefrence what sport you like and some day soccer will over come the others I think , just because it is a superior game. next year Sounders may break into the top thrity clubs in the world for club support. The club has sold more tickets then the local NFL team and it is just in its second season. It has radio coverage by a commentator picked up from the BBC just to do Sounders games.

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