The Major League Soccer season is passed the halfway point and the All-Star Game is in the rearview mirror. However, the television ratings for the mid-summer exhibition are in. The Chelsea/MLS game notched a .34 overnight rating and approximately 530,ooo viewers on ESPN2. According to Sports Media Watch, the ratings were” down down 26% in ratings and 32% in viewership from last year (0.46, 781K), and down 23% and 26%, respectively, from 2010 (0.44, 714K). The game ranks as the least-viewed MLS All-Star Game since 2009 (484K).” I had thought that the the lead-in from Liverpool/Roma would have increased the MLS ratings, but the earlier friendly only drew just above 300,000 viewers.
While its true that Chelsea isn’t the draw in the United States that Manchester United has been, the numbers are still fairly disappointing. The European Champions should have been a big draw. It will be interesting to see how the Olympic promotions impact the ratings on NBSCN.
A couple of weeks ago USA Today reported that the Portland/Vancouver Cascadia match drew an overnight of .6 following the England/Italy Euro 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.