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TV Ratings

Most-watched soccer games on US TV for August 10-31 2020

Catching up on the TV ratings after going through Hurricane Laura as well as delays due to the recent Labor Day, here are the latest TV ratings since the last time the column was published.

Univision’s Saturday evening Liga MX matches are averaging 454,800 viewers through the first month and half of the 2020 Apertura, down pretty significantly from 902,083 viewers through the same time period in the 2019 Apertura. Viewership for Univision’s Sunday afternoon kickoffs is also down, averaging 406,200 viewers compared to 532,667 in 2019. Telemundo has averaged 492,500 viewers for Chivas’ four home matches of the Apertura thru August 31.

The UEFA Champions League Final on Univision averaged a Spanish-language record 2.05 million viewers and represents a 41% increase in viewership on Univision when compared to last season. Viewership of the UEFA Europa League Final also saw a large increase on UniMás, drawing 464,000 viewers, a 71% increase from last year’s final on Univision.

The MLS is Back tournament came to a conclusion way back on August 11 with Portland Timbers defeating Orlando City SC 2-0 in the final before an audience of 365,000 on ESPN, making it the 3rd most-watched match of the tournament on English-language television behind the tournaments only match on FOX and the opener between Orlando City SC and Inter Miami on ESPN. Throughout the tournament, evening matches on ESPN and ESPN2 averaged 237,318 viewers, down about 2% from what the league averaged on ESPN’s networks throughout the 2019 season.

18/23UEFA Champions League FinalParis Saint-Germain / Bayern MünchenUnivision: 20500002,050,000
28/14UEFA Champions League Quarter FinalBarcelona / Bayern MünchenUnivision: 13600001,360,000
38/15UEFA Champions League Quarter FinalManchester City / Olympique LyonnaisUnivision: 11800001,180,000
48/19UEFA Champions League Semi FinalOlympique Lyonnais / Bayern MünchenUnivision: 963000963,000
58/18UEFA Champions League Semi FinalRB Leipzig / PSGUnivision: 879000879,000
68/12UEFA Champions League Quarter FinalAtalanta / Paris Saint-GermainUniMás: 655000655,000
78/29Liga MXCruz Azul / NecaxaUnivision: 649000649,000
88/29Liga MXAtlético San Luis / Club AméricaUnivision: 606000606,000
98/16UEFA Europa League Semi FinalSevilla / Manchester UnitedUniMás: 594000594,000
108/13UEFA Champions League Quarter FinalRB Leipzig / AtléticoUniMás: 572000572,000
118/15Liga MXChivas / Atlético San LuisTelemundo: 515000515,000
128/16Liga MXToluca / TigresUnivision: 491000491,000
138/15Liga MXMazatlán / PumasUnivision: 476000476,000
148/21UEFA Europa League FinalSevilla / Inter MilanUniMás: 464000464,000
158/23Liga MXToluca / ChivasUniMás: 462000462,000
168/30Liga MXPumas / TijuanaUnivision: 409000409,000
178/22MLSLos Angeles FC / Los Angeles GalaxyFOX: 376000376,000
188/11MLS is Back FinalPortland Timbers / Orlando City SCESPN: 365000365,000
198/29Liga MXChivas / PachucaTelemundo: 344000344,000
208/13Liga MXClub América / Santos LagunaTUDN: 343000343,000
218/22Liga MXClub América / MonterreyUnivision: 322000322,000
228/23Liga MXAtlético San Luis / Cruz AzulTUDN: 307000307,000
238/22Liga MXTigres / PumasUnivision: 298000298,000
248/13Liga MXQuerétaro / Cruz AzulUniMás: 288000288,000
258/16Liga MXQuerétaro / Club AméricaTUDN: 287000287,000
268/12Liga MXJuárez / ChivasTUDN: 248000248,000
278/11UEFA Europa League Quarter FinalWolves / SevillaUniMás: 247000247,000
288/28Liga MXMazatlán / TigresTUDN: 242000242,000
298/10UEFA Europa League Quarter FinalManchester United / KobenhavnUniMás: 232000232,000
308/17UEFA Europa League Semi FinalInter Milan / Shakthar DonetskUniMás: 210000210,000
318/21Liga MXJuárez / LeónTUDN: 194000194,000
328/11Liga MXTigres / PueblaTUDN: 187000187,000
338/12Liga MXPumas / MonterreyTUDN: 181000181,000
348/21Liga MXNecaxa / Santos LagunaTUDN: 177000177,000
358/23Liga MXAtlas / QuerétaroTUDN: 169000169,000
368/28Liga MXPuebla / TolucaTUDN: 168000168,000
378/11Liga MXPachuca / LeónTUDN: 167000167,000
388/13Liga MXAtlas / TolucaTUDN: 161000161,000
398/23MLSPortland Timbers / Seattle SoundersFS1: 158000158,000
408/14Liga MXPuebla / PachucaTUDN: 153000153,000
418/15Liga MXCruz Azul / JuárezUnivision: 153000153,000
428/16Liga MXSantos Laguna / AtlasFOXD: 152000152,000
438/17Liga MXLeón / TijuanaTUDN: 144000144,000
448/31Liga MXClub León / AtlasTUDN: 125000125,000
458/30MLSSeattle Sounders / Los Angeles FCFS1: 117000117,000
468/24Liga MXPachuca / MazatlánTUDN: 102000102,000
478/12Liga MXNecaxa / MazatlánTUDN: 8900089,000
488/27Liga de Expansión MXCimarrones de Sonora / CancúnTUDN: 6700067,000
498/18Liga de Expansión MXAlebrijes de Oaxaca / Universidad de GuadalajaraTUDN: 5500055,000
508/10UEFA Europa League Quarter FinalInter Milan / LeverkusenGalavision: 4800048,000
518/18Liga de Expansión MXDorados / CelayaTUDN: 3500035,000
528/20Liga de Expansión MXCancún / Tampico MaderoTUDN: 3500035,000
538/25Liga de Expansión MXAlebrijes de Oaxaca / DoradosTUDN: 3200032,000
548/22Liga MX FemenilPumas / TolucaTUDN: 2800028,000
558/27Liga MX FemenilToluca / ChivasTUDN: 2200022,000
568/24Liga MX FemenilClub América / Atlético San LuisTUDN: 2000020,000
578/20Liga MX FemenilCruz Azul / AtlasTUDN: 1500015,000
588/11UEFA Europa League Quarter FinalShakhtar Donetsk / BaselGalavision: 1000010,000

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  1. Eddy G

    January 7, 2021 at 12:59 pm

    @Rod not sure where you got your MLS Cup Fox numbers from MLS Cup on Fox did 1.071m and 1.53m total once combined with Spanish
    Also to answer your questions part of the ad revenue equation to dollars with networks breaks down to demo ratings in soccer. Soccer has a very good TV demo rating 18-49 yr old break down. Networks pay a premium for great demo breaks down. MLS 260-280k EPL 420-450k despite relatively small TV numbers compared to NBA 1.5m and NFL 18m soccer leagues benefit from having close to half and sometimes more of its viewership land in the sweet spot of demo ratings.

  2. Don

    December 11, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    Roberto saying other countries have less to watch and in turn watches Football (soccer) is half true at best.

    They might not have the Big 4 like we do but they have Rugby, Cricket, Handball, then lesser known but big in certain areas Kabaddi, Table tennis, Camel racing, volleyball and basketball, baseball.

    There are a ton of other sports that go up against soccer just like when people watch NFL most don’t know there are other say NBA or NHL games on.

    Numbers for soccer are right where they belong and personally I dont want ESPN to have First take or any other program cover soccer like they do with the NFL.

  3. Roberto

    December 11, 2020 at 1:39 pm

    When fans were still able to attend games the MLS had at least two teams in the top ten world-wide. Fans attending games has been on the increase. There is just too many “sports” on TV, almost all other countries have much fewer choices. So world football has a U.S. audience, in their stadiums.

  4. Rod

    December 11, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    Last Thursday, Dec 3, 2020, the MLS had 851k views on Fox, which is more than triple the normal result, but still only about 6% of the audience Fox would have had if the NFL game had not been postponed as the result of positive Covid tests among the Baltimore Ravens, so I guess it still lost money for Fox.

    It is also less than BattleBots garnered on the Discover Channel, which finished with 991K despite the absence of an echo chamber like soccer has. BattleBots also gets a replay next week to add to its total.

    Will soccer ever find an audience in the US? After 50 years of no, it still does not seem likely.

  5. Rod

    November 23, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    Somebody explain to me how televised soccer makes money.

    The MLS scheduled 65 league games and a few playoff games, a few mid-season tournament games and its All-Star Game for Fox, FS1, and ESPN in 2019 under a contract that paid it $90m, or somewhere right about $1.4m in rights fees per game.

    Since it drew an average of about 260k viewers per game, that works out to a payment per viewer per game of more or less $5.38.

    However, there are only so many commercials that can be shown during games. The game itself is about 100 minutes including stoppage time, and there’s a 15 minute halftime and a few minutes before the kickoff, which is the entire 2 hour window. If you allow 1 minute before kickoff, two minutes during halftime and 1 minute after the game, I think that’s all there is time for. There are also going to be promos for other shows and miscellaneous advice on other topics during breaks so I think thinking the networks are squeezing more than 12 half minute ads into a game is going to be unrealistic.

    A Super Bowl ad runs at a premium because it is the Super Bowl, but it is $5m for 30 seconds to 100m viewers, or about 5 cents per person. Assuming the same 5 cents for ads during soccer, that means the soccer showing network gets about 60 cents per viewer per game, for a net loss of about $4,75 per viewer or $1.23m per game overall. That is the same as 200,000 monthly subscriptions.

    Now I get it that FS1 and ESPN are subscription services and that ads don’t necessarily have to cover all the costs, but NFL games cost only about $2.40 in rights fees per viewer and viewers get 90 ads worth about $4.50 to the networks, in other words a $2.10 per viewer per game profit.

    So I don’t see how the networks keep going giving way too much money to soccer for the value brought back. It can’t last indefinitely, can it?

  6. Christopher Harris

    November 17, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    TV ratings from now on will be highlighted each week on the World Soccer Talk Podcast.

  7. OG

    October 15, 2020 at 7:52 pm

    Lol dumbest take.

  8. Cj

    October 7, 2020 at 8:00 am

    So have we just given up on soccer rating since it is now half way through October and we haven’t seen anything since August?

    • Ivan

      October 7, 2020 at 10:53 am

      There are no tv ratings to speak of, there is hardly any live soccer on tv. The bright future is here. Out of sight, out of mind.

      Those of us who wish for a BBC upon NBC and ESPN and CBS and refuse to pay to filthy corporations more than what we already pay just watch the games via other means.

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