It is no secret that TV viewership has not been good for MLS games (see MLS talk.com or SoccerAmerica.com) - here's a breakdown of who is doing it well and who needs to improve.
The average viewership gets widely reported, but the median numbers are far more informative and not nearly as good. For example, on average, 255,000 households tuned into an MLS game on ESPN2 last year but the median viewership was only 241k. The same 15 to 20k bump applies to the other networks too.
This is important to note because the median result is not swayed as much by one or two big games-say an All-Star Game against Chelsea or scheduling around another big sporting event. Instead it gives a realistic view of how MLS games do, day-in and day-out.
For a silver lining, there were 97 television broadcasts of MLS games, with a total of 17 million households watching. Almost half of these broadcasts were on NBCSports, which has a great reputation for boosting viewership of NHL games.
Last year, 40 percent as many households watched an MLS game on NBCSports compared to ESPN2 and it enjoyed a spate of success in July and August, where games were watched by 233 to 405,000 households.
Do you see NBC building on this success from last year? Is it a reasonable goal to reach ESPN2 levels of viewership within 1 or 2 years? What do you think of the quality of the different channels for watching American soccer?
Keywords: USA Soccer, Major League Soccer, Soccer Pro, major soccer league, soccer television, soccer ratings.