Back (sort of) to a full schedule this week. Thank you for your patience. Before we get to the attendance from the packed week of playoff action, here are a few business stories that we can catch up on from the last few days. One of the biggest business stories surrounds reports that Major League Soccer will announce that Orlando will become the 21st MLS franchise. While the fact of the announcement is no surprise, the apparent immediacy is. During the prolonged window between playoff games over the next two weeks, the league hopes to grab headlines with a November 19 press conference. Over the past few years, the league has done well with this announcements by including supporters groups, local dignitaries and more.
One area where the league has struggled over the past few weeks is in the playoff television rating department. During the playoff run, ratings on the league’s broadcast partner, NBC have been abysmal, barely registering on the Nielsen scale. The games on the NBC Sports Network have averaged more than 150k per game, which is fairly solid given the history of playoff numbers and the season ratings on NBCSN. The ESPN game last week was also fairly solid with just under 300k on November 3. Recall that many of the NBCSN broadcasts were simulcasts of the RSN telecasts from the home teams.
On to attendance, which got off to a rough start in the first week but picked up thereafter. For the first leg of the Eastern Conference Championship, it was a sellout at Sporting Park. There were 4,000 tickets still available on Sunday for the game at Rio Tinto, but from appearances, the game looked close to a sellout. For the final legs of the conference semi-finals, both Portland and RSL managed sellouts in the Western Conference. Sporting also managed a full house for their home date, while the Red Bulls fell before a crowd of more than 22k at RBA.
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