TV viewership numbers for the US Men’s National Team during 2023 are the lowest since 2018.

Based on research and analysis compiled by World Soccer Talk, viewership in 2023 dropped 69% from 4,267,063 viewers per game in 2022. The average audience for the men’s national team was 1,324,833 viewers per game in 2023. That is the lowest average for the USMNT TV ratings since 2020. In that year, the US only played four games because of COVID. If the COVID year is excluded, 2023 was the worst year for USMNT TV ratings since 2018. The combined average that year was just 1,170,455 viewers per game.

Here are the TV ratings for all 18 USMNT games in 2023. Both the English language viewership and Spanish language viewership are included.

USMNT TV ratings in 2023

January 25FriendlySerbiaN/A76,00076,000
January 28FriendlyColombia416,000540,000956,000
March 24Nations LeagueGrenada260,000N/A260,000
March 27Nations LeagueEl Salvador433,000130,000563,000
April 19FriendlyMexico437,0001,522,0001,959,000
June 15Nations LeagueMexicoN/A2,286,0002,286,000
June 18Nations LeagueCanadaN/A1,818,0001,818,000
June 24Gold CupJamaica642,0001,031,0001,673,000
June 28Gold CupSt. Kitts & Nevis613,000774,0001,387,000
July 2Gold CupTrinidad & Tobago1,088,0001,211,0002,299,000
July 9Gold CupCanada1,388,0002,323,0003,711,000
July 12Gold CupPanama1,506,0001,882,0003,388,000
September 9FriendlyUzbekistan323,000470,000793,000
September 12FriendlyOman339,000N/A339,000
October 14FriendlyGermany594,000556,0001,150,000
October 17FriendlyGhana348,000N/A348,000
November 16Nations LeagueTrinidad & Tobago348,000119,000467,000
November 20Nations LeagueTrinidad & Tobago305,00069,000374,000

World Cup contributes to drop in English-language audience

USMNT TV ratings on English language channels dropped a staggering 87% from 4,467,167 in 2022 down to 602,667 in 2023. The most obvious reason for that is the World Cup in Qatar was last year, which always provides a massive viewership boost. So, a drop-off is not entirely unexpected, though missing out on the Gold Cup Final against Mexico certainly did not help either.

But it should also be noted that the new US Soccer TV deal with Turner Sports seems to be a disaster for viewership thus far. While the five Gold Cup games all drew reasonably strong audiences on Fox Sports, the remaining ten games on Turner averaged a meager 380,300. In fact, the least-watched game on Fox Sports outdrew the most-watched game on Turner by nearly 20,000 viewers. It’s also worth noting that the opening game of 2023 against Serbia was not aired on TV, instead being streamed on Max.

Breaking down the Spanish numbers

USMNT TV ratings on Spanish language channels were down as well, though not as precipitously as on English. The viewership went from 1,046,643 in 2022 down 6% to 987,133 this year. The obvious answer is, again, no World Cup this year.

What helped the Spanish language numbers from dropping as far as the English language number was multiple meetings between Mexico and the US. The one-off friendly in Phoenix drew 1,522,000 million viewers on Telemundo while the Nations League semi-final in Las Vegas drew 2,286,000 viewers on Univision. Surprisingly, however, it was the Gold Cup quarter-final game against Canada that drew the largest Spanish-language viewing audience of the year with 2,323,000 people tuning in on Univision.

A massive opportunity coming up for the United States

Just as the attendance for the USMNT has a chance to explode in the next few years, so too does the USMNT TV viewership. The amount of high-level, international soccer set to be played in the US over the four years is quite staggering.

The Copa America is set for next summer, which given how successful the 2016 Copa America Centenario was, should be huge for US TV ratings. The Club World Cup is coming to the US in 2025. The World Cup will be in the United States, along with Canada and Mexico, in 2026. US Soccer is planning a joint bid with Mexico to host the 2027 Women’s World Cup. The 2028 Summer Olympics are in LA, which means more international soccer.

If the USMNT can capitalize on this unprecedented level of high-level soccer in the US, there is no telling what is possible. But if they cannot, or will not, then it is time to wonder if it will ever happen.