Every American soccer fan interested in seeing the game succeed in the States tends to keep an eye on television ratings as marker of the sport’s appeal to a domestic audience. With Euro 2012 and the MLS season back in gear, now presents a great time to take a snapshot of soccer ratings in 2012.
We’ll start with EURO 2012, where the Sunday broadcast of England v. Italy drew an outstanding 2.4 rating on ESPN. The mark represents a 50% increase over comparable matches from the 2008 version of the tournament. The earlier matches of the tournament saw similar success, with more than 1 million viewers tuning in for some of the weekend games. Weekend viewership has ranged from 1.7 million to 2.1 million per match, solid numbers on cable in the middle of the day. Per Awful Announcing, “in Canada, TSN pulled in an average audience of 707,000 over the first six games (which would be their second-highest average audience amongst season-long sports, behind only hockey), and hauled in 1.1 million viewers for the Italy – Spain match.”
USA Today is reporting that the Portland/Vancouver Cascadia match drew an overnight of .6 following the England/Italy match. Although the paper suggested that the .6 was disappointing, the .6 actually represents the high water mark for MLS on ESPN this year and a rating well above the league norm. The rating was also negatively impacted by a mid-game switch from ESPN2 to ESPN. On NBCSN, MLS has flat-lined, averaging less than 100k per game. While there have been games over 100k, some of the numbers have been disappointingly in FSC range over the last few games.