The penultimate weekend of the 2016 MLS regular season this past weekend was the league’s worst on ESPN.
Sunday’s playoff race matches, which featured Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids (178,000 viewers) and Montreal Impact against Toronto FC (161,000 viewers), were two of the lowest rated programs for the entire day on ESPN. They were also the two least viewed matches on ESPN this entire 2016 season. Plus, out of all of the soccer games shown on US television this past week, the MLS playoff games ranked number 15 and 16 in the most-watched matches.
Out of the 28 MLS games to air on ESPN this season, five have failed to average more than 200,000 viewers.
The broadcast for the Montreal-Toronto match began on Sunday, October 15 at 3pm ET, which was followed by the Portland-Colorado game at 5pm ET. In total, ESPN featured a four-and-a-half hour block of live coverage.
Meanwhile, ESPN approaches decision day this Sunday needing at least 205,000 viewers to lock in an average viewership greater than 300,000 for the 2016 season. In the 2015 MLS regular season, ESPN averaged 244,970 viewers per game.
Looking ahead to this weekend, ESPN and ESPN Deportes will air the Seattle Sounders FC versus Real Salt Lake match as the two teams battle for just three remaining Western Conference playoff spots. Airing parallel to the ESPN and ESPN Deportes game broadcast, ESPN2’s “MLS Decision Day Whiparound” studio show will provide two hours of Decision Day coverage.
FS1 and FOX Deportes will showcase the LA Galaxy versus FC Dallas game live from the StubHub Center as Dallas look to capture the top seed in the playoffs alongside Supporters’ Shield honors.
2016 MLS TV averages:
2016 Most popular soccer leagues on US TV:
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