Category: Leagues: Major League Soccer

Jon Champion departure from England leaves gaping hole in Premier League commentaries

ESPN’s surprise announcement this week that Jon Champion has decided to relocate to the United States and become ESPN’s lead commentator for MLS is going to leave a gaping hole in the commentaries of Premier League games. Out of all of the Premier League commentators calling games around the world, Champion is the number one in his field. Displaying a very English commentary style with an equal balance of witty remarks and not talking too much during games, Champion is the best in the business. So much so that his commentary style coupled with his knack of saying the right ... Read more

Most-watched MLS Cup Finals of all-time on US TV

Photo credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports Given the impressive viewing number for the 2018 MLS Cup Final, how does it compare to previous MLS Cup Finals that have aired in English-language on US television? With the over-the-air FOX network being available in approximately 115 million homes in the United States, Major League Soccer’s decision to televise games on that channel in 2016 and 2018 is paying dividends as can be evidenced below. The network is in far more homes than ESPN (87 million homes). The viewing number for the 2018 MLS Cup Final does mask what has been largely ... Read more

MLS Cup Final hits 1.5 million viewers on FOX for Atlanta triumph over Portland

Photo credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports FOX’s coverage of the 2018 MLS Cup Final between Atlanta United and Portland Timbers averaged 1.5 million viewers on the over-the-air network, an increase of 10% compared to the last time a MLS final was televised on the same network two years ago when Seattle defeated Toronto FC, thanks to a report by Showbuzz Daily. It’s Major League Soccer’s second best viewership on record for a MLS Cup Final. The previous best was 2.2 million that watched the 1997 MLS Cup Final on ABC. MLS’ viewing number greatly benefitted from the Atlanta effect, ... Read more

Remembering David Villa’s legacy with NYCFC and MLS

Before New York City Football Club had uniforms or a fan base, or an academy, or any semblance of a footballing identity, they had David Villa. The decorated Spanish striker became the club’s first-ever player on June 2, 2014. He joined as the Spanish national teams all-time leading goal scorer, a World Cup winner in 2010, and a winner of both La Liga and the UEFA Champions League. Villa’s stature in MLS was larger than life. He was the latest in a new wave of aging European stars who sought career renaissances in Major League Soccer. Almost four and a ... Read more

If Almiron and Zlatan leave MLS for Europe, it’s a positive move for the league

As MLS enters the final stages of the season, it’s exciting to look toward the future of some of the league’s key stars. However, there remains a strong possibility that two stars in particular could be leaving the league. But what will their absence mean for the league? Miguel Almiron Photo credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports   Atlanta United’s 24-year-old attacking midfielder Miguel Almiron has had a successful spell in MLS. The Paraguayan has scored 21 goals and assisted 28 goals in 62 MLS appearance for his franchise, and his impressive play has been noticed by some of Europe’s biggest ... Read more

2018 MLS average attendance down compared to 2017 season

MLS average attendance during the 2018 regular season dropped 1.09% compared to last year. Despite LAFC selling out many of their games during their debut season, the addition of the new team to MLS didn’t have an impact on the league’s attendance because the stadium’s capacity is much smaller (22,000) compared to previous new teams such as Atlanta United and Orlando City (when they were at the Camping World Stadium). Atlanta set a new season attendance record, beating its own gate from last season. Minnesota has the largest percentage increase, while unsurprisingly Columbus had the biggest decrease. It’s not a ... Read more

Top 30 most-attended soccer friendlies in USA during summer 2018

Another round of the annual summer friendlies has come and gone. These are usually a smashing success, both in terms of attendance at the games and the TV viewing audience. However, 2018 was down slightly for these types of friendlies (International Champions Cup attendances were down approximately 10%) while TV ratings dipped somewhat too. There are several possible explanations why this happened. First, it’s possible that there is something of a soccer burnout at the moment with the World Cup just finishing. Second, a number of clubs were stateside without their biggest stars who are on a much needed vacation ... Read more

A sterile aesthetic in American soccer fandom

Editor’s Note: Spencer Abel examines the aesthetic of soccer support in today’s stadiums and reflects on the broader interest for soccer in America.  The aesthetic of soccer has a persuasive power that’s able to knock the reason out of a spectator. In American soccer, that aesthetic is blunt. Catching a full 90 minutes of soccer in the United States often leads to confusion and a possible existential crisis. Despite MLS having been in operation for 24 years, many stadiums function as part-time homes for soccer teams. NYCFC plays at Yankee Stadium, the New England Revolution plays in the shadow of ... Read more