Fox Soccer Channel’s first Nielsen Ratings have been released giving soccer fans and advertisers alike a glimpse into how many people watch soccer on the network in the United States.

Here are the figures for the opening weekend of October:

  1. Manchester City v Liverpool, 224,000 viewers
  2. Blackburn Rovers v Manchester United, 199,000 viewers
  3. England v Kazakhstan, 176,000 viewers
  4. West Bromwich Albion v Fulham, 81,000 viewers

And this is how televised games from the other leagues shown on FSC compare to English football:

  1. Juventus v Palermo, 81,000 viewers
  2. DC United v Chivas, 39,000 viewers
  3. Dallas v Toronto, 32,000 viewers

Comparing how many viewers watch soccer games on ESPN versus Fox Soccer Channel, ESPN2’s MLS Primetime Thursday has averaged 261,000 viewers through 23 games this season, so the 224,000 viewers for Man City against Liverpool is pretty close. And remember, the game kicked off at 10am ET on a Sunday. What will be revealing is how many viewers Fox gets when Manchester United or Arsenal plays during the 11am ET kickoff time.

Also interesting is how the televised Premier League games did against similar sports programs for males in the 18-49 demographic. On October 4th, Blackburn against Man United had higher ratings than UFC Fight Night On Spike. October 5th’s Man City against Liverpool match, meanwhile, had higher ratings than NFL GameDay Morning on the NFL Network. On both days, those Premier League matches almost had more viewers than NASCAR shown on the Speed network.

For me, the biggest talking point from these numbers is that Fox is almost beating ESPN2’s ratings for MLS games even though FSC is only in 30 million homes, while ESPN2 is in 96 million homes. Imagine how many more viewers would be watching Premier League football in the United States if (1) the games were shown on ESPN or ESPN2, (2) and the games were shown during primetime.

Of course, it’s impossible for Premier League games to be shown in primetime in the United States, but if an idea such as the Premier League Cup happened and one or more of the games were played in the U.S. during primetime, you have to wonder how high the ratings would be.

What are your thoughts about the above ratings? Are they higher or lower than you expected? Let us know by clicking the comments link below.