The viewing number for MLS’ first over-the-air broadcast on English-language television in 2017 is in, and the news isn’t good.
In previous years, whenever Premier League TV ratings in the United States have beaten MLS viewing numbers for games played during the same weekend, MLS apologists have insisted it was due to Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal or another big Premier League club being featured. “Let’s see how a Crystal Palace or Hull City compare,” some would say.
Well, for this past weekend on US television, we have an apples-to apples comparison. The viewing numbers released today show that a game featuring Crystal Palace against Leicester on NBCSN had more viewers than a MLS game featuring Orlando City and LA Galaxy that was shown live on the over-the-air FOX network.
For the Orlando-LA Galaxy game, the broadcast averaged 346,000 viewers on the FOX network, according to Showbuzz Daily. That broadcast immediately followed the Bayer Leverkusen-Bayern Munich game that was also shown on FOX (the viewing number for that game has not been announced yet).
Meanwhile, the Crystal Palace-Leicester viewing number on NBCSN averaged 361,000.
The FOX network is available in 35% more homes in the United States than NBCSN. As of March 2017, NBCSN is in 83 million homes, while FOX is available in 112 million households.