The opening game of the 2017 MLS season between Portland Timbers and Minnesota United scored a disappointing viewing audience of 235,000 across FS1 and FOX Deportes combined, according to Sports TV Ratings.
The game ended in a 5-1 scoreline to the Timbers on a rainy night in Oregon. The match was televised live from 9:30-11:30pm ET featuring host Rob Stone and commentators John Strong and Alexi Lalas.
In comparison, the August 19 game between Manchester United and Southampton that was televised live on a Friday afternoon during office hours (3-5pm ET) was watched by 348,000 viewers on the USA Network.
Prior to Friday’s opener, the average viewing audience for a MLS game on US television was 292,365.
With Portland being the 2015 MLS champion while Minnesota making their debut in MLS, expectations were that the viewing number would have far exceeded the 235,000 that watched the game on Friday night (213,000 watched it on FS1, while 22,000 watched on FOX Deportes).