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:

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.

[World Soccer Talk]

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.

  • Ze Proz

    MLS in general draws comparatively awful ratings, but FS1 somehow does much worse than ESPN in that regard. There’s just something about FS1 that leads to much of its programming having much lower ratings than expected. Considering their advertising tactics (which basically consists of bombarding the airwaves with bombastic nonsense), it’s well past time that they could blame a lack of recognition for their viewership problems. At this point, their reputation precedes them.

  • YouAreWrongAndDumb

    American soccer fans are becoming more discerning. They realize how crap a product MLS is and see no reason to tune in when you can watch good soccer, from other countries, just as easily at home.

  • BK

    “You’ll see – soccer is going to be the most watched sport on television.”*

    *statement made every World Cup season.

  • RadioGuy

    “It can argue that it was the season debut and there was competition from college basketball and the NBA in the same time slots.”

    FS1 could argue that point of view all it wants, but the truth is MLS is a second-tier league with second-tier talent and a season that lasts far, far too long. Didn’t Seattle just win the MLS Cup? And now the new season is starting? I enjoy soccer but not so much that I’ll feign interest in this league for ten months.