TV Watch: Five big networks drew a combined audience of more than 10 million viewers for soccer last week

Never before have the big five networks -- ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and Univision -- all carried live soccer broadcasts the same week, and they drew a combined audience more than 10 million for 20 games they and their extended networks carried.

That includes only select Spanish-language simulcasts and doesn't include digital or out-of-home viewerships or the viewerships for other digital soccer broadcasts they aired last week or for broadcasts on other cable networks like BeIN Sports.

Here are the viewerships for the primary broadcasts of these 20 games

Univision Networks
Chelsea vs. Real Madrid (Wednesday, Univision), 1,210,000 viewers
Manchester City vs. Paris St. Germain (Tuesday, Univision), 935,000 viewers
Pachuca vs. Chivas, Liga MX, Repechaje (Sunday, TUDN) 862,000 viewers
Atlas vs. Tigres, Liga MX, Repechaje (Saturday, Univision) 658,000 viewers
Leon vs. Toluca, Liga MX, Repechaje (Saturday, TUDN) 456,000 viewers
FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo, MLS (Saturday, Univision) 218,000 viewers

-- Univision's telecast of this year’s UEFA Champions League semifinal round set new U.S. highs as the four semifinal matches April 27-May 5 averaged 1,010,000 viewers, marking the first time any round (other than the final) averaged more than 1 million viewers on a network.

-- The Liga MX playoffs began with four play-in games, three on Univision networks. The two-leg playoffs begin this week with the quarterfinals.

NBC Networks
Manchester City vs. Chelsea, Premier League (Saturday, NBC) 970,000 viewers
West Bromwich vs. Arsenal, Premier League (Sunday, NBC) 483,000 viewers
West Ham United vs. Everton, Premier League (Sunday, NBCSN) 305,000 viewers
Sheffield United vs. Crystal Palace, Premier League (Saturday, NBCSN) 237,000 viewers
Leeds United vs. Tottenham, Premier League (Saturday, NBCSN) 200,000 viewers
Chelsea vs. Reading, Women's Super League (Sunday, NBCSN) 74,000 viewers

-- The 970,000 viewers for Chelsea's 2-1 win that (temporarily) postponed Manchester City's title celebrations were the third highest of 2021 for the Premier League on NBC in 2021.

-- The Athletic reported that digital and Spanish-language (Telemundo and Universo) audiences pushed the total average viewership to 1.32 million.

-- NBC has the top six audiences among English-language networks in 2021, all for Premier League games. The largest audience for a non-Premier League: 838,000 viewers for the Northern Ireland-USA men's friendly in March.

Disney Networks
Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders, MLS (Sunday, ABC), 620,000 viewers
Inter Miami vs. Atlanta United, MLS (Sunday, ABC) 557,000 viewers
Orlando City vs. NYCFC, MLS (Saturday, ESPN), 299,000 viewers
Borussia Dortmund vs. RB Leipzig, Bundesliga (Saturday, ESPN) 273,000 viewers

-- For the first time, ABC aired an MLS regular-season doubleheader on Sunday. The Portland-Seattle and Inter Miami-Atlanta United averages were up significantly from the first ABC broadcast of 2021, the Inter Miami-LA Galaxy game on the opening weekend that averaged 482,000 viewers.

-- The three games on ABC have averaged 553,000 viewers, up almost 70 percent from the average of 326,000 for the two games ABC aired during the 2020 regular season, the first season since 2008 it aired MLS games in the regular season.

-- The two MLS games on ABC ranked as Sunday's most-watched soccer games on English-language television, beating out the Premier League games on NBC and NBCSN.

-- The total viewers for the Cascadia Cup match (ABC + ESPN Deportes) were 641,000, making it the second most-highest total for an MLS regular-season match across the Disney Networks (ABC/ESPN/ESPN2/ESPN Deportes) since 2017.

FOX Networks
LA Galaxy vs. LAFC, MLS (Saturday, Fox) 489,000 viewers
Sporting KC vs. Austin FC, MLS (Sunday, FS1) 346,000 viewers
Santos vs. Queretaro, Liga MX, Repechaje (Saturday, Fox Deportes) 154,000 viewers

-- The 489,000 viewers on Fox the first El Trafico match of the season were up slightly from the 485,000 viewers for the LAFC-Austin FC game on the opening weekend of the season.

-- The 206,000 viewers on Fox Deportes for the Galaxy-LAFC match were the second most for an MLS regular-season game on the network.

-- The Sporting Kansas City-Austin FC match on FS1 was the fourth most-watched MLS regular-season game on the network since 2017.

CBS Networks
Portland Thorns vs. Gotham FC, NWSL Challenge Cup final (Saturday, CBS), 534,000 viewers

-- The 534,000 viewers were down almost 19 percent from the 653,000 viewers who watched the 2020 final in Utah but still more on Saturday than what NBC drew for its NHL game or Fox drew for Spring League Football or any English-language network drew for soccer other than NBC's Manchester City-Chelsea game.

Note: Numbers for CBS Network broadcasts are unavailable.

Sources: MLS, Univision, @SoccerInsider, SkedBall and ShowBuzzDaily.

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