The 2016 Major League Soccer regular season saw 90 games made available on national television. ESPN led the way with 32 games broadcast across their networks, 28 featured on the primary channel. FOX Sports showed the equivalent of 31 matches with 5 on the FOX broadcast network while Univision aired 27 matches on their networks with a special California Clásico shown on the primary network.
Here’s the breakdown of which clubs were shown on which networks in 2016:
|New York City FC||6||7||4||17|
|New York Red Bulls||5||7||4||16|
|Orlando City SC||4||6||6||16|
|Real Salt Lake||1||1||3||5|
Each club had a minimum of three games broadcast nationally in the United States. New York City FC and the Los Angeles Galaxy led the league with 17 national television appearances, while the New York Red Bulls, Orlando City SC and Seattle Sounders were just slightly behind, each making 16 appearances.
|New York Red Bulls||261,200||463,429||224,750||340,563|
|New York City FC||351,500||330,714||233,500||328,304|
|Orlando City SC||247,250||174,333||249,333||220,688|
|Real Salt Lake||141,000||56,000||186,667||151,400|
Upon first glance, the results can appear surprising. Toronto FC are ranked #1 in the overall table, averaging 386,500 viewers over 6 games. This is due in large part to their September 18th matchup against the New York Red Bulls, who ranked #2, shown on the FOX broadcast network with a significant lead-in from FOX’s NFL coverage. When only counting games broadcast on cable networks, Toronto FC averaged only 186,200 viewers. The bump experienced by appearing on the FOX broadcast network accounted for over 57% of Toronto’s total viewership on US TV for the 2016 season.
|New York City FC||276,545|
|New York Red Bulls||204,667|
|Orlando City SC||184,000|
|Real Salt Lake||95,500|
New York City FC proved to be the most popular club when counting broadcasts available only on cable, with their two Hudson River Derby matchups on FOX accounting for only 27% of the clubs total viewership. Real Salt Lake, Philadelphia Union and Colorado Rapids were by far the least popular teams on American television in 2016. All three teams combined to play 11 games across ESPN, FS1 and UniMás with not even one drawing an audience larger than 199,000 viewers.
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