MLS's average viewership on ESPN and ESPN2 increases 2 percent

The average viewership for MLS regular-season broadcasts on ESPN and ESPN increased 2 percent in 2019 to average audience of 246,000 viewers, up from 241,000 in 2018 when the average was the lowest since the MLS's new national television deal went into effect in 2015.

MLS Viewers (ESPN/ESPN2):
YEAR AVG.
2015 244,000
2016 274,000
2017 272,000
2018 241,000
2019 246,000

The 25 matches on ESPN averaged 266,000 viewers -- up 7 percent from 248,000 in 2018 – while the six telecasts on ESPN2 delivered an average audience of 164,000.

The six broadcasts on the less-watched ESPN2 were the most since the first year of the new TV deal in 2015 when 26 of the 34 regular-season broadcasts aired on the Deuce.

In the 13 years covering the two deals in which ESPN agreed to pay an annual rights fee, it has averaged more than 300,000 viewers only once (2012).

Top 3: Viewerships (MLS on ESPN in 2019):
1. Seattle vs. Atlanta United (July 14), 462,000 viewers
2. D.C. United vs. Atlanta United (March 3), 401,000 viewers   
3. LAFC vs. Sporting KC (March 3) 368,000 viewers

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Photo: Lindsey Wasson / Sounders FC Communications

1 comment about "MLS's average viewership on ESPN and ESPN2 increases 2 percent".
  1. Phil Hardy, October 9, 2019 at 10:03 a.m.

    What are the rules for broadcasting which teams go on TV? Does the network get to pick all the games or it is required to broadcast every team a certain number of times. Sky used to get it right with the Premier League: every team got shown twice, minimum and then Sky got to choose during the season which games to broadcast so that down the stretch there would be fewer duffs to sit through. Would be surprised if ESPN didn't have a lot of clout to show ATL or LAFC more often. I think even the casual fan wants to watch the Galaxy to see what Zlatan says and then does on the field. 

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