Category: Leagues: Major League Soccer

NYCFC broadcasts make it harder than ever for fans to watch team

In 2019, NYCFC matches aired locally in the New York metro area on the YES Network and YES2. Nationally, NYCFC appeared on ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, Univision, and Unimás. The club’s matches also streamed on three different platforms: FOX Sports Go, Twitter, and MLS Live on ESPN+. That’s ten different viewing options for what is only a 34-game regular season. More isn’t merrier when supporters have to hustle to hunt down exactly where they can watch their club’s matches every week. NYCFC local broadcast home is the YES Network because the Yankees own 20% of the MLS club. But being on ... Read more

Next MLS TV rights deal could make or break U.S. league

An industry analyst estimates that the MLS expansion fees could increase from $200 million to as much as $600 million for teams 31 and 32 in order for team owners to try to recoup their investment in the league because the TV revenue numbers don’t work otherwise.  In an interview with Pro Soccer USA, industry analyst Corey Leff said that MLS owners are making less than $3 million a year from TV revenue based on the current TV deal that generates $90 million a year for the league for rights to MLS, USMNT and USWNT but that $90 million is ... Read more

Seattle-Toronto MLS Cup Final disappoints with 1.27 million viewers

Major League Soccer’s 2019 final between Seattle and Toronto averaged 1.27 million viewers across ABC, Univision and TUDN combined, according to Nielsen fast nationals. Overall, the 2019 MLS Cup Final viewing number on ABC (823,000) is a significant disappointment considering that last year’s Final aired on the free-to-air FOX network, which averaged 1.56 million viewers for Atlanta United-Portland. Sunday’s final was the first time in more than 10 years that the MLS Cup Final was televised on ABC, a free-to-air network that aired the most-watched MLS Cup Final of all time with 2.2 million viewers in 1997. On Spanish-language television, ... Read more

LAFC-LA Galaxy scores 871,000 viewers for ESPN’s most-watched MLS playoff game ever

Thursday night’s broadcast of LAFC against LA Galaxy scored a combined viewing audience of 871,000 viewers across the ESPN2, ESPN and ESPN Deportes channels, according to an ESPN spokesperson. Ending in an exciting 5-3 finish, the LAFC-LA Galaxy game made history by becoming the most-viewed MLS Cup Playoff game on record for the ESPN networks. Previously, the record had been held by the Houston Dynamo vs. LA Galaxy Western Conference Final in 2014 with 822,000 viewers across ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes. On ESPN Deportes, LAFC-Galaxy was the most-watched MLS game ever for the Spanish-language network. Despite the game originally scheduled ... Read more

MLS TV ratings slump 19% during regular season; Playoffs take a nosedive

TV viewing numbers for the 2019 MLS regular season saw a dramatic decline compared to last year, so much so that the MLS TV ratings slumped 19% while the opening weekend of the MLS playoffs dropped 54%. For the 2019 regular MLS season, viewership over the 62 televised broadcasts averaged 268,081 viewers according to research from World Soccer Talk. That compares to an average of 332,435 last year for the same number of games, marking a 19.35% decline in viewership across all MLS broadcasters combined — FS1, FOX, ESPN, ESPN2, Univision, UniMas and TUDN. MLS fans may attribute the dramatic decline ... Read more

MLS 2019 viewership on ESPN grew by 2% compared to 2018

ESPN’s English-language television coverage of Major League Soccer generated a two percent increase during the 2019 regular season, according to Nielsen. The 31-match schedule on ESPN and ESPN2 delivered an average audience of 246,000 viewers, up from 241,000 viewers for 31 matches in 2018. On ESPN, 25 matches averaged 266,000 viewers, a seven percent gain from 248,000 in 2018 – the most-watched cable network for MLS matches this season. The six telecasts on ESPN2 in 2019 delivered an average audience of 164,000. During the 2018/19 Premier League season, NBC Sports averaged 457,000 viewers per game. And for the 2019/20 season ... Read more

MLS has a TV ratings problem, and it’s named FOX Soccer

Major League Soccer has a TV ratings problem, and it’s named FOX Soccer. During the penultimate weekend of the regular season when teams are typically fighting to finish in the top 4 seeds in the playoffs, you would expect FOX Sports to generate impressive viewing numbers for two vital games featuring clubs that are based in the top two TV markets in the country. Instead, Sunday night’s double bill of New York Red Bulls versus DC United followed by Minnesota United against LAFC averaged just 81,500 fans on FS1. That’s despite FS1 being in 84 million households across the United ... Read more

MLS games drowned out by better quality and quantity of foreign leagues on TV

Many soccer fans in the United States are accustomed to getting up in the morning and watching matches from Europe, leading to burnout by the end of each weekend day. Others focus on Liga MX and Latin American competitions that run concurrent with Major League Soccer and USL Championship matches. Others simply don’t like the product offered by the domestic league in the United States and opt not to watch it. MLS TV ratings are poorer in the fall than during the summer. For those who take a very narrow Americanized-view of things this is due to the start of ... Read more