Market Watch: Spanish-language viewerships drive huge gap between recent U.S. national team audiences

Univision's domination of soccer viewership in the United States is well known.

Univision Communications reported that the Univision networks -- Univision, UniMas and Galavision -- combined with Spanish-language sports television channel TUDN to generate approximately 50 percent of all soccer viewership in the United States in 2019.

The big draw: Liga MX, the most-watched soccer league, averaging 737,000 total viewers on Univision networks.

The power of Univision extended to the U.S. men's national team, which averaged 947,500 viewers for six games over the last five months of the 2019 season.

The Spanish-language viewerships were more than triple the average for the men or women on English-language television (ESPN2 and FS1) in the same period. The largest audience was -- no surprise -- 2.7 million for the U.S. men's 3-0 loss to Mexico in a friendly that aired on Univision in early September.

But even if you threw out the viewership for the USA-Mexico game, the other five men's games on Univision or UniMas averaged more than twice the men or women did on English-language television.

The Univision viewerships are responsible for the huge difference in the average audiences for the men's and women's national teams. While they drew almost equal viewerships on English-language television for the last five months of 2019, the men drew more than four times the viewership when the English- and Spanish-language viewerships are combined.

Univision aired only four of the seven U.S. women's national team games and only one on one of the three Univision networks.

The U.S. women's national team played seven games -- five as part of the Victory Tour -- after winning the 2019 Women's World Cup. In 2015, it played nine games on the Victory Tour -- a 10th game in Honolulu was cancelled -- after winning the World Cup in Vancouver.

The average of almost 274,000 for the seven post-World Cup games on English-language television in 2019 was down 20 percent compared to the average of more than 342,000 for the nine post-World Cup games on English-language television in 2015.

USMNT (TV viewerships, August-November 2019)

1. USA-Mexico (Sept. 6), 3,086,000 (FS1, 386,000, Univision 2,700,000)
2. USA-Uruguay (Sept. 10), 1,445,000 (FS1, 245,000, Univision 1,200,000)
3. USA-Canada (Nov. 15), 854,000 (ESPN2, 352,000, UniMas 502,000)
4. USA-Canada (Oct. 15), 817,000 (ESPN2, 323,000, UniMas 494,000)
5. USA-Cuba (Nov. 19), 692,000 (FS1 233,000, UniMas 459,000)
6. USA-Cuba (Oct. 11), 487,000 (FS1, 157,000, UniMas 330,000)
Average: 1,230,167.
English-language: 282,667.
Spanish-language: 947,500.

USWNT (TV viewerships, August-November 2019)
1. USA-Ireland (Aug. 3), 359,000 (ESPN2, 319,000, Galavision 40,000)
2. USA-Portugal (Sept. 3), 342,000 (ESPN2, 342,000, no Spanish-language TV)
3. USA-South Korea (Oct. 6), 319,000 (ESPN, 319,000, no Spanish-language TV)
4. USA-Costa Rica (Nov. 10), 302,000 (ESPN2: 273,000 / TUDN: 29,000)
5. USA-Sweden (Nov. 7), 296,000 (FS1: 268,000 / TUDN: 28,000)
6. USA-South Korea (Oct. 3), 226,000 (FS1, 172,000 TUDN 54,000)
7. USA-Portugal (Aug. 29), 224,000 (FS1 224,000, no Spanish-language TV)
Average: 295,429.
English-language: 273,857.
Spanish-language: 37,750.

7 comments about "Market Watch: Spanish-language viewerships drive huge gap between recent U.S. national team audiences".
  1. Terry Lynch, January 25, 2020 at 9 a.m.

    The English language audience for the women might have been down in 2019 because some of the players went political and may have turned off some of the fan base.

    Personally, I'm happy the Spanish speaking channels carry EPL when some of those games get dumped on the pay channels.

  2. David Ruder replied, January 25, 2020 at 12:51 p.m.

    It is a known fact that Hispanics in the US never favor US National Teams no matter who they play. 

  3. Bob Ashpole, January 25, 2020 at 11:07 a.m.

    Raise your hand if you don't speak Spanish but have watched Spanish-language soccer broadcasts.  

    Even with the language barrier I prefer their commentators. I enjoy Fernando Fiore, but the production stinks. Until they use production crews that understand that they should not treat soccer the same as an NFL match, the Spanish language productions will always be better.

    It doesn't matter who is commenting if the producer choses a close up of the coach, some fans in the stands, or even a close up of one player, instead of showing broad shots of the action on the field. What they don't seem to understand is that movement off the ball before a restart is just as important as movement after the restart. 

  4. William Shine, January 25, 2020 at 1:18 p.m.

    I know what you mean Bob.  Can't count the number of times I yell at the TV when they show a close up of someone when an important moment in the game could be happening.

  5. Richard Rodriguez, January 26, 2020 at 8:49 p.m.

    This article is an argument against "Equal Pay"

  6. Bob Ashpole replied, January 29, 2020 at 3:17 p.m.

    1. You are ignoring the lack of Spanish language broadcasts for the women's matches.
    2. "Equal Pay" is required by law. It isn't conditioned on TV ratings.

  7. Bob Ashpole, January 29, 2020 at 3:32 p.m.

    Paul, you are comparing apples and oranges. You should have considered the markets that the broadcasts were serving. I don't have access to TUND or Galavision. The women for practical purposes had no spanish language markets for any of the matches you choose to compare.

    Is there a reason you didn't include June and July in the comparison?

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