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Most-watched soccer games on US TV for May 1-7, 2017

Real Madrid’s 2-0 defeat against Atlético Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League Semi Finals drew 779,000 viewers on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Deportes, falling short of the 858,000 that tuned in for Real Madrid and Bayern Munich’s matchup in the previous round and falling in as the second most-watched Champions League match on FOX Sports’ networks this season.

Sunday afternoon’s MLS match between New York City FC and Atlanta United drew 368,000 viewers for the second of six scheduled matches to be broadcast on Univision in 2017. Viewership was down 28% from 509,000 viewers for Univision’s season opening broadcast on March 4th. Also on Sunday, FOX Sports 1’s MLS viewership numbers saw some improvement over last week but remained disappointing as the network drew 167,000 viewers.

In the women’s game, Saturday’s match between the Chicago Red Stars and Houston Dash averaged 69,000 viewers on Lifetime, in direct competition with ESPN’s broadcast featuring the Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC which drew 305,000 viewers. Four games into the NWSL new broadcast agreement with Lifetime the league is averaging 83,500 viewers.

Here are the most-watched soccer games on US TV for May 1-7, 2017:

Average viewing audiences for soccer leagues on US TV:

RankDateCompetitionTeamsTVColumn1
15/6/17Liga MXLeon / Cruz AzulUnivision905,000
25/6/17Liga MXAmérica / PachucaUnivision877,000
35/2/17UEFA CL SemiReal Madrid / Atlético MadridFS1/D779,000
45/7/17Premier LeagueArsenal / Man UtdNBCSN767,000
55/6/17Premier LeagueSwansea City / EvertonNBC709,000
65/7/17Liga MXPumas / PueblaUnivision532,000
75/7/17MLSNew York City / Atlanta UnitedUnivision368,000
85/7/17Premier LeagueLiverpool / SouthamptonNBCSN358,000
95/3/17UEFA CL SemiMonaco / JuventusFS1310,000
105/6/17Premier LeagueHull City / SunderlandNBCSN310,000
115/6/17MLSSeattle Sounders / Toronto FCESPN305,000
125/6/17Premier LeagueMan City / Crystal PalaceNBCSN302,000
135/7/17Liga MXSantos / TolucaUDN289,000
145/6/17Liga MXQuerétaro / TigresUDN263,000
155/5/17Premier LeagueWest Ham / SpursNBCSN201,000
165/1/17Premier LeagueWatford / LiverpoolNBCSN195,000
175/5/17CNCAF U17 Champ.Costa Rica / MexicoUDN186,000
185/7/17MLSMinnesota United / Sporting Kansas CityFS1180,000
195/4/17UEFA EL SemiCelta Vigo / Man UtdFS1174,000
205/6/17Liga MXNecaxa / ChivasGala99,000
215/6/17NWSLRed Stars / DashLifetime69,000

MLS 2017 viewing average compared to previous years

LeagueOverallESPNESPN2FOXFS1UnivisionUniMás
2017 MLS228,897 (30)274,400 (6)272,000 (2)346,000 (1)190,500 (11)438,500 (2)188,375 (9)
2016 MLS254,522 (90)290,179 (28)201,500 (4)658,000 (5)154,346 (26)1,004,000 (1)223,120 (25)

SEE MORE: Access our archives of US TV ratings for soccer.

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. kAkA

    May 17, 2017 at 7:15 am

    It would be interesting to compare the Liga MX statistics with the UCL and Europa League finals. Apart from those games it might be difficult to outrank the current options of the viewers.

  2. Anthony

    May 15, 2017 at 9:02 am

    “Real American Soccer Fan” and “R.O.”

    – Outside of Bayern vs Dortmund matches, there is little or no reason to watch most Bundesliga league matches. The league simply isn’t competitive.

    • Mrx

      May 16, 2017 at 5:58 am

      Yeah and there’s a reason to watch teams like Westham and Crystal palace kicking ball and chasing.

    • R.O

      May 16, 2017 at 5:09 pm

      “The league simply isn’t competitive.” Competitive as for 1st place? Outside of RBL this year that’s true for winning the title. But it is competitive and exciting to watch in battle for mid table and to get the EL spot.
      MD33 for example: Mainz-Frankfurt, Bremen-Hoffenheim very competitive games, exciting and lots of goals.
      In the 70’s and beginning of 80’s, Bundesliga was popular in the US. Then rest of 80’s the Bundesliga became less popular and not only in the US, but in many other countries. That was partially due to the Bundesliga themselves.

      Serie A was the hot league in the 80’s and 90’s. I think today’s primary US viewers (17-35 yr olds) have no connection to Bundesliga. They didn’t grow up with it. All about the EPL as it was promoted here.

      Still, NWSL more popular than Bundesliga? I don’t get that one.

  3. R.O

    May 15, 2017 at 12:40 am

    Wait so more people in the US watched NWSL Red Stars vs Dash than Dortmund vs Hoffenheim or Hertha BSC vs RB Leipzig? Wow. Bundesliga is much better than NWSL.

    I also can’t believe that on the final matchday of Bundesliga, Fox will be showing all the games on FS2 and not a single game on FS1. Absolutely nuts! At this point, might as well not even show any Bundesliga. Hardly anyone has FS2. IMO, the Bundesliga should make a stink about that decision by Fox.

  4. edailysports

    May 13, 2017 at 6:18 am

    No Spanish, No Premier league!!!!, León vs. Cruz Azul football match highest audience view for soccer leagues on US TV

    • LIguy

      May 13, 2017 at 10:19 am

      Liga MX is the highest watched league in the U.S., the ratings are not surprising.

      • Mrx

        May 13, 2017 at 11:59 am

        Imagine what rating liga mx would draw with increasing hispanic population. It can truely demand a big broadcasting money from bidding tv companies.

        • Tom

          May 13, 2017 at 5:41 pm

          I wonder how many homes Univision/UniMas are in compared to the English-language networks. I know they are over-the-air stations, but they probably have roughly the same household reach as ESPN, NBCSN, FS1, etc. Impressive numbers, considering they’re on a network targeted at a narrow (but growing) segment of the population.

          • Christopher Harris

            May 13, 2017 at 7:44 pm

            Univision is in 94 million homes. UniMas is in 69 million homes. Univision Deportes is in 46 million homes.

            In comparison, ESPN is in 87 million homes, FS1 84 million homes, FS2 50 million homes. The big FOX network is in 112 million homes (the over-the-air NBC network would be in the same number of homes too).

        • Oliver Tse

          May 13, 2017 at 6:53 pm

          FYI:

          Liga MX clubs earn over $200 million/year in rights fee from U.S. media companies.

          (EPL clubs earn only $160 million/year in U.S. media rights fee from NBCUniversal.)

          Liga MX clubs earn 3 times as much in TV rights fee in the U.S. than in Mexico.

          Chivas Guadalajara earns over $100 million in rights fee in the U.S.

          Because Chivas makes so much in rights fee in the U.S., it can afford to decline a lowball offer for rights in Mexico from Televisa and start its own pay subscription streaming service in Mexico.

          • Mrx

            May 14, 2017 at 9:27 am

            That’s good, atlesst Mexicans support their own league unlike epl fans in the usa who shun their own league to watch a league which has no connection to them.

            • Jack S.

              May 14, 2017 at 3:31 pm

              The MLS and EPL games aren’t broadcast at the same time, so it’s easy to watch both leagues if you’re in the US.

              If you’re wondering why a soccer fan in the US would choose to watch an EPL game over an MLS game, it’s practically two different sports. EPL quality of play is much higher than MLS. The best MLS teams would have a tough time finishing in the top half of the Championship League, nevermind the EPL. And don’t get me started on the horrible MLS officiating…

              • Mrx

                May 14, 2017 at 4:27 pm

                Epl quality is not that high and it’s better to chose a local club than watching some foriegn league. South Americans love their league even if it’s not as high quality as European leagues , so do Mexicans. It’s only Americans who like some foreign league more than local league. They even watch two kick and rush team of low quality like Swansea and Stoke over MLS. MLS has no future in USA. Btw, it’s not soccer it’s football. You better watch NFL if you don’t understand what is football.

                • Real American Soccer Fan

                  May 15, 2017 at 1:43 am

                  The Anglophile Europoser hipsters use “quality of play” to justify not watching MLS, yet they’re watching boring Mourinho-led Manchester United matches over fun Bundesliga teams like Bayern and Dortmund. lol

          • spursguy

            May 15, 2017 at 11:17 am

            This doesn’t seem accurate at all

  5. Tim

    May 12, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    Spanish-language numbers for the EPL and MLS games? Arsenal-Man Utd was also carried by Telemundo and Swansea-Everton by NBC Universo.

    • Christopher Harris

      May 12, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      We don’t have the numbers for those specific Spanish-language broadcasts unfortunately.

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