MLS, the two faces of growth: 22,000 spectators in the stadium, but few in front of the television

MLS viewers. Participation in Major League Soccer is on the rise and fan interest is on the rise, although TV shows are much less popular and some young Americans prefer to play in Europe.

In this season, the MLS reached an average of 22,000 spectators, historical record that placed it among the seven best championships in the world. The league is ready for add a second franchise in Los Angeles next year and announce two cities extending the month.

Nevertheless, TV viewers for MLS games average less than 300,000 nationwide, a lower-than-average number for a New York Yankees game on its regional sports network. A number of young Americans, such as Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie, have opted out of MLS to play in Germany and challenge themselves in a more challenging environment.

(Photo Atlanta United FC)

MLS viewers: US out of World Cup as a growth opportunity

It’s more, The United States failed to qualify for next year’s World Cupconcluding a series of seven consecutive appearances in the best soccer showcase.

“We need to use this failure as a wake-up call to all partners in the sport at all levels. We need to ensure the right development, leadership and governance processes, mechanisms and programs to learn from this missed opportunity. We have to make sure this doesn’t happen againMLS Commissioner Don Garber said this week. «Part of the maturation that leads to becoming a true national is to recognize that qualification for the World Cup is not due to us, but that you have to earn it. Unfortunately we are in the company of some great teams, such as Italy, Holland, Ghana and Chile who did not qualify.

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MLS viewers, the improvements from 2000 to today: but TVs are still fighting

However, over the years, the advances in MLS have been evident. The average number of viewers has grown by 60% compared to 13,756 in 2000, pushed this year by Atlanta’s 48,200 fans, in its first season. MLS chases only the Bundesliga, Premier League, Spanish La Liga, Mexican Liga MX, Chinese Super League and Serie A, with the Italian top flight slightly ahead (22,177 spectators against 22,106).

New MLS audience record: 71,874 attendees at Atlanta-Toronto

However, all this did not translate into equal success from a television point of view. ESPN averaged 272,000 viewers across 30 television broadcasts this season, on ESPN and ESPN2, while Fox averaged 236,000 viewers across 33 broadcasts on FS1 and Fox. What’s more, Univision has an average of 250,000 viewers for broadcasts of MLS matches in Spanish.

The Premier League, by contrast, attracts a larger audience, averaging 422,000 viewers across NBC, NBCSN and CNBC, although many games are played in the morning on weekends.

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