MLS fails to make positive impression on TV ratings during big soccer weekend

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This past weekend, Major League Soccer and its TV partners pulled out all of the stops to try to boost its fledgling TV ratings. Unfortunately despite the much hyped MLS Rivalry Week, the results yet again failed to move the needle.

First, FOX had its first-ever MLS game that aired nationally on FOX broadcast television. Not only that, but FOX and MLS worked together to feature the game immediately after the FA Cup Final between Manchester United and Crystal Palace, hoping that fans of English soccer would continue watching the Hudson River derby.

Second, the Sunday game between Cascadia Cup game between Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps was featured on the main ESPN network, which meant that the more high-profile Copa del Rey final between Sevilla and Barcelona was pushed to ESPN2.

And third and finally, the California Clásico between San Jose Earthquakes and LA Galaxy was featured prominently on FOX Sports 1 during primetime.

Everything was primed for Major League Soccer to make a big splash.

So how did MLS do against the competition?

For those MLS and FOX executives hoping that the FA Cup viewers would stick around to watch the New York City-New York Red Bulls game, they would have been disappointed by the fact that 41% of the average viewing audience that watched Manchester United beat Crystal Palace didn’t watch the Hudson River derby. The average viewing audience for the FA Cup Final was 1,018,000 compared to the average viewing audience of 595,000 for NYCFC-New York Red Bulls.

The New York derby viewing audience number is disappointing especially when you consider that New York City is the number one TV market in the United States. There are 7.3 million homes that have televisions in New York, which represents 6.5% of the total in the USA.

Moving to Sunday, despite being on ESPN, the average viewing audience number for the Portland-Vancouver game failed to beat Sevilla against Barcelona, which was on ESPN2. Three thousand more viewers, on average, watched the Copa del Rey final than the MLS game. Although

Third and finally, the Sunday night primetime broadcast of San Jose against Los Angeles generated a viewing audience average of 210,000 across FOX Sports 1 and FOX Deportes. The 151,000 of those viewers who watched the game on FOX Sports 1 is 23% below FS1’s average for the 2015 MLS regular season.

Meanwhile, here are the soccer TV ratings from May 19-25, 2016 for all live games shown on US television:

Pos. Teams No. of viewers TV Network Game time (ET) Date
           
1 Monterrey vs. Club America 1,395,000 Univision Deportes 9:30-11:30pm Sat., May 21
2 Man United vs. Crystal Palace 1,160,000 FOX & FOX Deportes 12:30-3:10pm Sat., May 21
3 New York City vs. Red Bulls 636,000 FOX & FOX Deportes 3:30-5:30pm Sat., May 21
4 Leon vs. Pachuca 498,000 Univision Deportes 9-11pm Thurs., May 19
5 Sevilla vs. Barcelona 466,000 ESPN2 3:30-6pm Sun., May 22
6 Portland vs. Vancouver 463,000 ESPN 5-7pm Sun., May 22
7 USA vs. Ecuador 429,000 ESPN2 8-10pm Wed., May 25
8 Pumas vs. Independiente 427,000 FOX Deportes 9-11pm Tues., May 24
9 Pachuca vs. Leon 395,000 Univision Deportes 9-11pm Sun., May 22
10 Puerto Rico vs. USA 304,000 FOX Sports 1 Noon-2pm Sun., May 22
11 LA Galaxy vs. San Jose 210,000 FOX Sports 1 & FOX Deportes 7:30-9:30pm Sun., May 22
12 Philadelphia vs. DC United 190,000 UniMas & Univision Deportes 7-9pm Fri., May 20
13 England vs. Turkey 180,000 FOX Sports 2 & FOX Deportes Noon-2pm Sun., May 22
14 USA vs. Ecuador 161,000 Univision Deportes 8-10pm Wed., May 25
15 Boca Juniors vs. Nacional 120,000 FOX Deportes 7-9:30pm Thurs., May 19
16 Atletico vs. Rosario 109,000 FOX Deportes 9:30pm-Midnight Thurs., May 19
17 Puerto Rico vs. USA 105,000 Univision Deportes Noon-2pm Sun., May 22
18 Frankfurt vs. Nurnberg 75,000 FOX Sports 1 2:30-4:30pm Thurs., May 19
19 Nurnberg vs. Frankfurt 67,000 FOX Sports 1 & FOX Deportes 2:30-4:30pm Mon., May 23
20 Mali vs. Mexico 54,000 beIN SPORTS Español 9:45-11:45am Sun., May 22
21 Bulgaria vs. Mexico 29,000 beIN SPORTS & beIN SPORTS Español 11:30-1:30pm Tues., May 24
22 PSG vs. Marseille 26,000 beIN SPORTS 3-5pm Sat., May 21
23 Almeria vs. Real Oviedo 25,000 beIN SPORTS Español 1:15-3:15pm Sun., May 22
24 Bulgaria vs. France 23,000 beIN SPORTS & beIN SPORTS Español 1:45-3:45pm Fri., May 20
25 NY Cosmos vs. Eibar 16,000 beIN SPORTS & beIN SPORTS Español 10pm-Midnight Wed., May 25
26 Houston vs. Real Sociedad 15,000 beIN SPORTS & beIN SPORTS Español 7:30-9:30pm Tues., May 24
27 Paraguay vs. England 13,000 beIN SPORTS & beIN SPORTS Español 1:30-3:30pm Wed., May 25
28 Portugal vs. Guinea 12,000 beIN SPORTS Español 12:45-2:30pm Sat., May 21
29 San Jose Earthquakes vs. Real Sociedad 10,000 beIN SPORTS 7-9pm Fri., May 20
30 Vallodolid vs. Girona 9,000 beIN SPORTS Español 2:30-4:30pm Tues., May 24
31 Legales vs. Huesca 9,000 beIN SPORTS Español 2:30-4:15pm Sat., May 21
32 Guinea vs. Japan 9,000 beIN SPORTS & beIN SPORTS Español 11:30am-1:30pm Wed., May 25
33 Gimnastic vs. Osasuna 8,000 beIN SPORTS Español 3:30-5:30pm Wed., May 25
34 Japan vs. Portugal 8,000 beIN SPORTS & beIN SPORTS Español 11am-1pm Mon., May 23
35 Mexico vs. Czech Republic 6,000 beIN SPORTS Español 10:45am-12:45pm Fri., May 20
36 England vs. Portugal 6,000 beIN SPORTS & beIN SPORTS Español 1:20-3:20pm Thurs., May 19
37 Philadelphia Fury vs. Eibar 5,000 beIN SPORTS & beIN SPORTS Español 5-7pm Sun., May 22
38 Indy 11 vs. Minnesota 4,000 beIN SPORTS 7:30-9:30pm Sat., May 21
39 England vs. Guinea 4,000 beIN SPORTS & beIN SPORTS Español 1-3pm Mon., May 23
40 Guinea vs. Paraguay 0 beIN SPORTS 11:30am-1:30pm Thurs., May 19
41 France vs. Mali 0 beIN SPORTS 1:30-3:30pm Tues., May 24

Note that viewing figures for soccer games shown on the over-the-air Univision network or Telemundo have not been made available.

SEE MORE: Browse through all of the TV ratings data from now through 2006

HT SportsTV Ratings

18 Comments

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