ESPN Reports Higher Ratings for MLS Matches


Recent numbers from ESPN show that, on all platforms, viewership for MLS matches is on the upswing. 

The news comes as the league gets ready to play its All-Star Game in San Jose. Overall, the results are strong across the spectrum of ESPN’s platforms, ranging from ESPN to ESPN Deportes and English and Spanish language broadcasts on WatchESPN. Furthermore, the games are pulling in stronger numbers among the 18-49 year old demographic.

The release from ESPN is below:

Leading up to the 2016 MLS All-Star Game, this year’s Major League Soccer matches on ESPN and ESPN2 have delivered an average audience of 312,000 viewers (227,000 household impressions), an increase of 32 percent in viewers (235,000) and 44  percent in television homes (158,000) from the same period in 2015.  On WatchESPN, the E1/E2 average minute audience to-date this season is 12,000, an increase of 127 percent increase over 5,000 in 2015.

ESPN Deportes is seeing a 44 percent audience increase with an average 46,000 Hispanic viewers year-to-date in 2016, compared to 32,000 in 2015. Spanish language telecasts on WatchESPN had an increase of 20 percent in average minute audience to-date this season vs 2015.

“As we enter the All Star break, we are delighted to see such substantial year over year gains in audience across ESPN platforms and in key demographics for Major League Soccer,” said Scott Guglielmino, ESPN Senior Vice President, Programming and Acquisitions.  “We look forward to continue working with Major League Soccer to keep up the momentum as we enter a very busy Fall sports calendar.”

Additionally, Major League Soccer on ESPN and ESPN2 so far in 2016 has delivered significant increases across key demos:

  • Across ESPN/ESPN2, viewership among M18-34 is up 22 percent (66,000 in 2016 vs. 54,000 in 2015);
  • Average viewership for MLS on ESPN/ESPN2 among key soccer demos is up: 13 percent for M18-49, and 18 percent for P18-49;
  • Among Hispanic viewers, MLS matches on ESPN/ESPN2 have seen a 14 percent increase compared to the same period last year;
  • With younger Hispanic demos, P18-34, MLS on ESPN/ESPN2 is up eight percent over same period last season.

ESPN’s Top Three English-language MLS telecasts in 2016:

Date Matchup Network Ratings (US) HHs Viewers (P2+)
Jun 25 NYC FC vs. Seattle Sounders ESPN 0.4 455,000 616,000
Jul 9 LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders ESPN 0.4 421,000 536,000
May 22 Portland Timbers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps ESPN 0.3 324,000 463,000

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