Depending on which way you look at the numbers, the soccer cult TV show Men In Blazers is either a ratings disaster or a boost to NBCSN’s late night and early morning programming. The truth probably lies somewhere in between.
After launching in September, the show averaged just 30,000 viewers for its first 3 episodes with a low of 24,000 watching its live September 22 episode. Since then, the numbers have improved but they’ve been incredibly inconsistent.
In November, MIB’s Monday 10-10:30pm ET timeslot averaged 78,000 viewers, while December’s 10-10:30pm timeslot dropped to an average of 52,750 — with a record low of 23,000 viewers tuning in for the December 1st episode.
The most viewed first-viewing of a Men In Blazers episode, so far, was the November 10 episode when 95,000 viewers tuned in. In subsequent weeks since then, the viewing numbers have been all over the place with 61,000 (11/24), 23,000 (12/1), 69,000 (12/8), 73,000 (12/15) and 46,000 (12/22).
However, the viewing numbers aren’t all doom and gloom because the re-runs of the Men In Blazers TV show are doing better than the first broadcasts. For example, 143,000 people tuned into the December 1 midnight ET re-run, while 128,000 watched the midnight ET rerun on November 10.
But then the rollercoaster ride hit again when just 14,000 tuned in to the midnight ET airing of the show on December 15, and 48,000 watched the rerun of the most recent show at midnight on December 22.
Needless to say, the viewing numbers for the Men In Blazers TV show are all over the place.
In speaking with fans of Men In Blazers, the consensus among the majority of people I’ve spoken to is that the show hasn’t adapted as well to television. There’s still enthusiasm for the audio podcast, but there’s a lot of room for improvement in the original show that is condensed to less than 30 minutes for television.
One of the biggest challenges for NBC Sports is that there’s no reason for soccer fans to tune in to watch the show live. The show is recorded on a Monday afternoon and then aired later that night. The one addition to the show that would make it a hit on television is a live call-in feature, allowing GFOPs (Great Friend of the Pod) to call in and ask questions of Michael Davies and Roger Bennett. However, with only a 30 minute show (and much less when you consider the commercial breaks), there isn’t enough time to squeeze in calls from listeners unless NBCSN is willing to expand the show from 30 to 60 minutes.
In the meantime, Bennett and Davies will prepare to ride the rollercoaster once again when Men In Blazers returns to NBCSN on January 12.