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MLS viewers on NBCSN up 76 percent after four games
by Paul Kennedy, April 5th, 2014 10:43PM

TAGS:  mls, soccer business, television


[SOCCER ON THE AIR] Through the first four weeks of the MLS season, the average audiences for its games on NBCSN are up 76 percent from last year's average for four games and 115 percent from the 2012 average to an average of 209,500 viewers a game.

The opening day match -- Seattle-Sporting KC -- averaged 330,000 viewers, the most for an MLS game on NBCSN outside the 2012 London Olympics window when MLS games on NBCSN received huge boosts because of Olympic lead-ins. The 2014 opener followed a Chelsea EPL match on NBCSN.

The four-week average doesn't include the Week 5 match between Portland and Seattle that should draw right around the season average. It didn't have the benefit of an EPL match as a direct lead-in on NBCSN. The 12:30 p.m. the Chelsea game was on NBC. But its wild start should have kept some viewers and its end-to-end drama drawn in other viewers.

NBC is in the third and final deal of its current contract with MLS, whose numbers are still a fraction of what NBCSN is drawing for its EPL coverage. Five EPL matches last week averaged more than 500,000 viewers on NBCSN. Three had weekend morning kickoffs and a fourth had a midweek afternoon kickoff.

MLS on NBCSN: First Four Games (2014)
330,000 Seattle-Sporting KC (March 8)
171,000 Seattle-Toronto FC (March 15)
180,000 Real Salt Lake-LA Galaxy (March 22)
157,000 D.C. United-Chicago (March 29)
Average: 209,500.

MLS on NBCSN: First Four Games (2013)
107,000 Houston-D.C. United (March 2)
79,000 Chicago-New England (March 9)
82,000 Sporting KC-Chicago (March 16)
209.000 Seattle-Portland (March 23)
Average: 119,250.

MLS on NBCSN: First Four Games (2012)
82,000 FC Dallas-New York (March 11)
124,000 Philadelphia-Colorado (March 18)
107,000 Seattle-Houston (March 23)
76,000 D.C. United-FC Dallas (March 30)
Average: 97,250.

  1. Ginger Peeler
    commented on: April 6, 2014 at 11:59 a.m.
    The games I've watched have used American commentators who spend most of their time actually describing the action on the field. What a pleasure they are to listen to! I'm not sure why the other networks use Brits for play-by-play duties. They spend the majority of their time gossiping about players, other leagues, etc. They talk about pitch, boots. kits and football. Of course, I know what that all means. What bothers me is that no attempt is made to use the terms we use here in the US and I do have trouble understanding some of their words with their accents. We, the audience, are treated as if our terminology is wrong, so we get the "correct" European terms instead. They talk down to us and they get rehired for doing so! So, thank you NBCSN for bringing us simple, straight-forward, informative calls.

  1. Doug Broadie
    commented on: April 6, 2014 at 12:51 p.m.
    Ginger - Couldn't agree more. I think NBC may have dropped out of the MLS/USSF bidding too soon. Why can't we have three english speaking networks. Maybe one of those could pick up the English side of the game broadcast only on UniMas and visa-versa for UniMas.

  1. R2 Dad
    commented on: April 6, 2014 at 5:27 p.m.
    Dear Ginger: sometimes a match is just a match, and brits describing it are just...brits. No need to get so butt-hurt that those brits aren't using words you use. soccer/football is an international sport, and parochialism just shows americans to be pathetic coach potatoes that need spoon-feeding. If this was baseball or football(both sports we invented), I would agree 100%. but we're playing someone else's sport. Maybe we could just roll with it? these brits might seem annoying to you, but come WC in Brazil they are going to be much more familiar with all the players and teams we will be facing. Do you remember how absolutely awful the american commentators were in 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006? My 2 cents: the brits talk about the boots and pitch because the play and the players are quite lame in comparison to la liga, serie A, the bundesliga, BPL. Maybe 2014 will be different, and I am truly optimistic each year in MLS will be better than the previous, but the kick-and-run and terrible officiating are difficult to defend when superior leagues are just a channel away.

  1. Zoe Willet
    commented on: April 7, 2014 at 12:27 a.m.
    Lay off of Ginger- she has a good point or two. Also, R2 D2, I notice you didn't mention 2010 in your rant. There are American commentators who know everything the Brits know about the history of soccer- too many to cite in fact, so take your complaints elsewhere, please!

  1. Richard Saunders
    commented on: April 7, 2014 at 1:20 a.m.
    R2 Dad, your elitist Eurosnob smarminess is a detriment to growing the sport in the US. Being a soccer fan isn't a contest, and , short of hooliganism, there is no wrong way of going about it. MLS is improving gradually, and it shouldn't pretend to be anything different than a developing league on the rise. There's zero wrong with being that way at the moment, so knock off the condescension.

  1. Ginger Peeler
    commented on: April 8, 2014 at 8:27 p.m.
    R2Dad...I appreciate your viewpoint. I usually agree with your comments. But I have to disagree here. The Brits invented the game, but it's no longer theirs. "The Beautiful Game" belongs to the world now and is the most popular sport in most countries. Unfortunately, in the US, it ranks behind football, basketball, baseball and hockey. In the 50s and 60s, we were called the ugly Americans when we showed up in Europe and demanded that the Germans, French, Italians, etc, all speak English. Instead, we should have made every effort to work with other languages. We were in their countries, we had no right to insist that they speak our language. Also, I'm one of the last generations before TV. I remember sitting next to the radio listening to programs. When we got our first TV, there were only 2 channels and they went off the air every night. I now have a TV with a 26 inch screen and my old eyes can't always make out the numbers of the players on the I count on the announcers to tell me who's got the ball. And I want to be able to turn the sound up and listen to the game while I'm in the kitchen. I don't want to hear a warm and fuzzy story about some player's cousin in another league on another country. I watched one MLS game where the British announcer was so caught up in his story, he completely missed a shot on goal! And I've watched lots of EPL games (where the referees are terrible and the teams play kick-and-run) where the announcers spend most of their time calling the game. But ESPN has given us gossips who seem to feel they need to make the kind of small talk you get during basketball timeouts and football timeouts. Except there are No timeouts in soccer.

  1. John DiFiore
    commented on: April 9, 2014 at 11:48 p.m.
    Yea, I agree. It's MLS. It's american soccer. And really? "we are playing someone elses sport? hahahaha Whose? England's??? That's funny. Please tell me what makes England so great when it comes to soccer?? It's Spain's game now... And Ian Darke is the WORST!!! So, anti-American! I dont want to watch another USMNT game with him commentating. And Twellman is getting just as bad. Yes the EPL is the best!! But England CERTAINLY is NOT!! The english are no better than us.

  1. John DiFiore
    commented on: April 9, 2014 at 11:49 p.m.
    p.s. it's "couch potatoe" not coach.

  1. John DiFiore
    commented on: April 9, 2014 at 11:52 p.m.
    For the record: Max Bretos calls a great game!!! Enthusiastic, POSITIVE AND AWARE OF WHO HIS LISTENER IS..

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