Major League Soccer is back and it has a couple of new teams, one of which made its debut on FS1 last Friday. The Portland Timbers hosted the expansion Minnesota United and it resulted in a 5-1 blowout in favor of Portland.
Sports TV Ratings noted that the game didn’t draw too well on the Fox Sports Group networks:
Portland/Minnesota MLS on FS1 Friday: 213K. Another 22K on Fox Deportes.
— Sports TV Ratings (@SportsTVRatings) March 6, 2017
So overall, an estimated 235,000 viewers watched the match. Last season, the average audience for MLS on U.S. TV averaged 292,365 viewers so FS1 was off to a slow start.
World Soccer Talk notes that the weak numbers for MLS in Friday primetime were beaten by an English Premier League August Friday afternoon game:
In comparison, the August 19 game between Manchester United and Southampton that was televised live on a Friday afternoon during office hours (3-5pm ET) was watched by 348,000 viewers on the USA Network.
Certainly Fox was hoping for better numbers than a viewership of 235,000. It can argue that it was the season debut and there was competition from college basketball and the NBA in the same time slots.
In addition, the game was in a non-traditional slot for FS1. The network usually airs MLS on Sunday nights.
With more MLS games on the horizon, Fox hopes the numbers can only go up as the season progresses. Time will tell if this will be a trend or just an aberration.