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Most-watched soccer games on US TV for April 25-29, 2018

Last week’s CONCACAF Champions League Final 2nd Leg attracted 1.525 million viewers, making it the third most-watched club soccer match in the United States in 2018 behind March’s SuperClásico on Univision and April’s Manchester Derby on NBC and Telemundo. The two-legged series averaged 1.155 million viewers.

Last Sunday’s MLS broadcast on ESPN featuring the Colorado Rapids and Orlando City was the network’s least-watched MLS match since October 2016 and the third least-watched since ESPN began its most recent broadcast deal with the league that same year. At just 173,000 viewers, this also represents the rare occasion where a match on FS1 beat an ESPN broadcast on the same weekend as LAFC’s home opener later that night, which drew 248,000 viewers.

UniMás also saw weak numbers for its MLS telecast last weekend with just 148,000 people tuning in to watch Saturday’s contest between the Philadelphia Union and DC United. It was Univision’s least-watched telecast of the season thus far.

Here are the most-watched soccer games on US TV for April 25-29, 2018:

14/25/18CONCACAF CLChivas / Toronto FCUniMás/UDN; 1525000—; —1,525,000
24/28/18Liga MXClub América / SantosUnivision; 661000UDN; 4230001,084,000
34/28/18Liga MXTigres / MonterreyUnivision; 540000UDN; 405000945,000
44/29/18Premier LeagueMan Utd / ArsenalNBCSN; 646000Telemundo; 192000838,000
54/28/18Premier LeagueSwansea / ChelseaNBC; 672000Universo; 14,000686,000
64/29/18Liga MXPumas / QuerétaroUnivision; 505000—; —505,000
74/29/18Premier LeagueWest Ham / Man CityNBCSN; 338000Universo; 42,000380,000
84/27/18Liga MXTijuana / Toluca—; —UDN; 342000342,000
94/28/18Premier LeagueLiverpool / Stoke CityNBCSN; 249000Universo; 64,000313,000
104/27/18Liga MXMorelia / Necaxa—; —UDN; 283000283,000
114/28/18Premier LeagueSouthampton / BournmouthNBCSN; 261000—; —261,000
124/29/18MLSLAFC / Seattle SoundersFS1; 248000—; —248,000
134/28/18Liga MXLobos / Puebla—; —UDN; 218000218,000
144/28/18Liga MXChivas / Santos—; —Gala; 182000182,000
154/29/18Liga MXVeracruz / Cruz Azul—; —UDN; 178000178,000
164/29/18MLSColorado Rapids / Orlando City SCESPN; 173000—; —173,000
174/28/18MLSPhiladelphia Union / DC UnitedUniMás; 148000—; —148,000
184/28/18Liga MXPachuca / Atlas—; —Gala; 6700067,000

2018 MLS Average Viewing Audiences

293,750 (8)115,000 (1)565,000 (1)195,667 (6)351,800 (5)172,333 (3)270,000 (24)

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

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  1. Edwin

    May 5, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    Since 2014 Cable TV average 200,000 to 274,000
    2014- 200,000.

  2. L. Josserand

    May 5, 2018 at 11:29 am

    Any statistic based upon a dataset with significant amounts of missing data is going to be potentially misleading (i.e. wrong). This is because those drawing conclusions based upon such an incomplete dataset will tend to assume that the missing numbers (if reported) would have been similar to the reported numbers – but this is typically done without any logical basis for making such assumptions. On the contrary, there may even be factors whereby only that data which is somehow advantageous to the reporter is being made available. Put another way, the unfavorable data is being suppressed, precisely because it differs in a negative way.

    What is a significant amount of missing data? It depends, but is generally believed to be a percentage of missing data that rises above the low single digits. This can be a justification for throwing out the entire dataset, at least until such time as the data can be more fully reported.

    • Edwin

      May 5, 2018 at 12:31 pm

      Upvote from me good analysis. The thing with this is that there is no down side to including the data. Unlike with most data sets this outcome will always have a I’m speak mathematically here a positive sum. There is no risk in bad data by including the viewership number you do get be it 1-10000000..etc additional viewers. It’s not like a game can receive a negative amount of viewers -100,000 or something, The number whenever available will always to in addition you understand now? So there shouldn’t be any fear of maybe the unreported viewership number is lower is will ALWAYS be a plus. You just won’t have a plus number to report if there isn’t one reported for whatever reason.

      Throwing out the additional viewership number you do get in favor of always reporting a negative number lends to the opposite scenario of what you were saying. It lend to suppressing favorable information in favor of supporting a negative narrative at the site. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy, World Soccer Talk every season keeps reporting MLS TV numbers continue to suffer or stagnate. Soccer fans then visit World Soccer Talk and post negative or disappointment comments like “I don’t know what it will take for MLS”, “See MLS “, MLS ratings excuses”.
      Bad data leads to misleading coverage and formed or reinforced negative opinions of the league. Meanwhile a simple wikipedia factaully sourced search will show you since 2014 to 2018 MLS broadcast cable average has increased each year from 200,000 to 274,000 (274,223) currently. You never hear about that on World Soccer Talk if you pay attention 3/4 the MLS coverage is negative. I wonder why it seems like personal opinions or preferences of the league gets in the way of reporting factual data see: “:We through additional viewership data out because we didn’t get it all” Even though doing this leads to a misleading number the AVERAGE IS OFF 4000K because of it. Meanwhile it allows just enough of a slip for some games to keep posting MLS is down some small percentage number 2-6% compared to this time last year. Well yeah if you are throwing out DATA.

  3. Edwin

    May 5, 2018 at 5:48 am

    Yes but it throws off the average, and that isn’t disclosed in your articles comments mentioning MLS ratings or the yearly MLS average you report. The average will always be lower because ratings of games are thrown out under the reasoning you don’t get them consistently. All MLS rating data should be included in the yearly average just like all EPL, Liga MX data is included. Its only fair that a disclosure be annotated in articles. There will be 8 FOX games this year including the annual NFL/Double header games that have brought in
    1.3 million plus the past two season. Not including 111,000 viewers for example like the 676,000 rated game which only gets reported as 575,000 by WST, that leads to inaccurate data and inaccurate articles written about MLS. I work as a analyst in the government and we have a saying for bad/ half correct data,” garbage in garbage out”. If your site is committed to reporting the most accurate and comprehensive data and analysis it’s best to include all the data you can get regardless, not throw out data for one week because you didn’t get it for another. Just add a note saying the data was uvailable for some games.

    Especially since the MLS TV average will be represented accurately by including the thrown out additional viewing number data which in turn would produce a higher average rating. I don’t see the harm doing it that way since you know if a game was on Deportes as well it had a viewin g number no matter how small or big it’s a additional viewing number that should have been added. Just seems at best misconstrued to do it the way you are or at worst a attempt to drive a negative view of MLS. Its okay to have a opinion to prefer another league like EPL etc. but data is facts and should be reported as such.

    Also do you see Fox renewing Bundelisga giving the horribly low numbers over the course of the deal. Even MLS ratings are 3x higher than Bundelisga. They are on roughly a $100mil US per yr deal with FOX vs MLS current $90 mil per yr US TV deal from 2014. Where do you see them going in 2020, have you heard anything from your sources on any possible network?

    • Alex Michalakos

      May 5, 2018 at 1:40 pm

      They are TRYING to provide a negative impression of MLS viewership. Therefore, omitting some numbers is entirely appropriate. You can do a lot with statistics 😉

  4. Edwin

    May 4, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    Hey Colin just to help out here but there is a couple important errors in your math just trying

    1. The MLS ESPN average is off It looks like you accidently flipped the numbers around but the average should be 295,375 for ESPN
    2. The FOX number is off it is 676,000 sans 575,000 as you can see from the link below. At the time I pointed it out in another article that the number was off and I was told it would be corrected and that it was just was overlooked as the additional US Spanish number hadn’t came in yet. Looks like that incomplete original number made it back into the numbers.
    So the True MLS Average is 2750,000( 274,707).

    Los Angeles Galaxy’s 4-3 come from behind victory over Los Angeles FC was watched by 676,000 viewers on the FOX broadcast network and FOX Deportes making it the most-watched Major League Soccer game on FOX to date that was not connected to any NFL broadcast.

    • Edwin

      May 4, 2018 at 9:50 pm

      MLS Average is (274,000) 274,223).

      ESPN Avg 294,000 (293,750)

      ESPN games
      SEA v LAFC 456,000 ESPN Mar 4 Sun 5pm
      ATL v DC 576,000 ESPN Mar 11 Sun 3pm
      ATL v LAFC ESPN 259,000 Apr 7 Sat 5pm
      OCSC v Portland 181k.000 ESPN Apr 8 Sun 4pm
      Phil vs Orlando ESPN 253,000 Apr 13 Fri 8pm
      Sporting KC v Seattle ESPN 248,000 Apr 15 Sun 4 pm
      Seattle v Minnesota ESPN 204k Apr 22 Sun 4 pm
      Colorado vs Orlando ESPN 173k Apr 29 4pm

    • Collin Werner

      May 5, 2018 at 12:15 am

      We don’t consistently have access to FOX Deportes numbers so I do not include them in my averages. The FOX average is solely for the FOX broadcast network and the ESPN average is solely for matches on ESPN.

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