ESPN is crowing about its MLS Cup overnight ratings from Saturday. The match, which saw Toronto FC defeat Seattle 2-0, drew an 0.7 overnight rating. In its official announcement, ESPN notes that Saturday’s rating was up 75 percent from the 2015 MLS Cup which also aired on the Worldwide Leader.

ESPN also points out that Saturday’s overnight rating was the highest for an MLS Cup on an ESPN network dating back to 2012.

What the press release doesn’t say is that last year’s MLS Cup, which was broadcast on the Fox television network, actually drew a higher overnight rating (1.0) and was also shown in primetime.

Seattle drew the highest number as far as the local markets are concerned. It averaged a 7.0, which was the second-highest for the MLS Cup either on ESPN or ABC since 2006. Louisville, Columbus, Norfolk and Raleigh-Durham round out the top five highest-rated local markets.

Fox will broadcast next year’s MLS Cup and it can look forward to reaching a higher number than ESPN as it is in more homes. However, ESPN is not fretting over its overnight numbers from Saturday.

Toronto is not part of ESPN’s ratings as it is not one of the 56 markets that were measured for the overnights. ESPN and MLS are hoping Saturday’s numbers are something to build upon for the future.


About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

  • Bscotch Bscotch

    When will they stop rounding these tiny numbers? At these levels, it matters, That 75% could look very different if they take the rating out to 2 decimal places. It’s either misleading or they really are dinosaurs.

  • Mike Porritt

    I’ll never understand why ratings for Canada cannot count when a Canadian team is playing. Of course there is a Canadian broadcast that most are watching (especially when it is not on a broadcast network). If you tell the Cdn numbers you will get a better picture of how many watch.

    • The ratings are for TV advertisers, who don’t particularly care how many Canadians are watching on TSN when they’re paying to be shown on ESPN.

      MLS, undoubtedly, will include TSN’s numbers in their final press release for total viewership.