The ratings for Sunday’s U.S. broadcast of the 2019 MLS Cup (where the Seattle Sounders beat Toronto FC 3-1) on ABC are in, and while they’re up from previous broadcasts on ESPN cable channels, they’re not great relative to last year’s match on Fox. Here are the numbers from ESPN’s Bill Hofheimer:https://twitter.com/bhofheimer_espn/status/1194004149836435463Here’s more from the ESPN release Hofheimer cites there:
The ABC broadcast of Sunday’s 2019 MLS Cup Presented by Audi – a Seattle Sounders’ 3-1 victory over Toronto FC – averaged 823,000 viewers (P2+), according to Nielsen fast nationals, making it the most-watched MLS Cup match on the Disney Media Networks since 2014.Sunday’s audience is a three percent increase over the last MLS Cup on the Disney networks in 2017 (803,000 viewers on ESPN) and the company’s most-viewed Major League Soccer championship match since 2014 (964,000 on ESPN).…2019 MLS Cup caps a record-setting MLS Playoffs for the Disney Media Networks. Prior to Seattle-Toronto, the five ESPN/ESPN2 matches combined for a 36 percent audience increase, while the LAFC-LA Galaxy Western Conference semifinal on Oct. 24 delivered ESPN’s best MLS Cup Playoffs audience in five years. This year is also the most-watched MLS postseason on ESPN Deportes, which is up an impressive 235 percent.
For comparison, Fox’s broadcast of the 2018 MLS Cup drew 1.563 million viewers. Now, an important caveat there is that the 2018 game was almost a month later (Dec. 8), and that it was played at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on a Saturday. By contrast, this year’s match was at 3 p.m. Eastern on a Sunday, going head to head with NFL games. But that was probably the most logical slot for it, as the new shortened MLS playoff format and shortened regular season (thanks to more midweek matches) this year meant that the MLS Cup took place while there was still a whole lot of college football going on (eating up ESPN’s networks Saturday, including ABC).Last year’s game took place the same Saturday as the annual Army-Navy Game, but that was the most significant college football that day. And Army-Navy was on CBS rather than ESPN or Fox, and it was several hours before the MLS match. So the MLS Cup got primetime mostly to itself last year (and in previous years), and that’s really not possible under this year’s new schedule.
- NBC exec Jon Miller: ‘We have no desire to be the network of soccer’
- Inside The NBA pays tribute to retiring producer Tim Kiely: ‘You’re the best of all time.’
- The American Gladiators Documentary delivers, but not for the reasons you may have hoped for
- Kim Clijsters talks women’s sports’ drive for equality, International Tennis Hall of Fame, and more