Ratings Roundup: MLS Viewership Up 50% After Raucous 2020 Season

Ratings roundup is a rundown of recent rating news and is derived from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week’s edition, the Major League Soccer audience on ABC and ESPN networks are up 50% in 2021, TUDN’s telecast of the 2021 MLS All-Star Game sets new viewership record on Spanish-language television, and more.

Major League Soccer Audience on ABC and ESPN Networks Up 50% in 2021 Compared to 2020 Regular Season

The 2021 Major League Soccer season on ABC and ESPN networks had delivered an average audience of 384,000 viewers (P2+) through 18 matches, a 50 percent increase compared to the 2020 regular-season average (257,000).

Compared to the 2019 regular-season average (277,000 viewers), the audience of 384,000 average viewers for MLS on ABC and ESPN networks represents a 39 percent increase in viewership through 18 matches in 2021.


  • With 358,000 average viewers season to date, ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 combined are currently on track to deliver Major League Soccer’s most-watched season since 2000 (378,000 viewers across the same three English-language networks)
  • The five ABC matches this season – the most MLS matches on the broadcast network since 1998 – delivered an average audience of 507,000 viewers. Last year, three ABC matches averaged 318,000 viewers.

Top-five MLS matches on ABC and ESPN networks in 2021:

  • Sun, May 9 – Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders (620,000) & Inter Miami CF vs. Atlanta United (557,000)
  • Sun, Jun 20 – Atlanta United vs. Philadelphia Union (546,000)
  • Sat, Apr 24 – LAFC vs. Seattle Sounders (499,000)
  • Sun, Apr 18 – Inter Miami CF vs. LA Galaxy (482,000) (ESPN)

TUDN’s Telecast of the 2021 MLS All-Star Game Sets New Viewership Record on Spanish-Language Television

TUDN’s telecast of the 2021 MLS All-Star Game, featuring the MLS’s best taking on a star laden squad from Liga MX, averaged 1.4 million Total Viewers 2+ and 736,000 Adults 18-49 on Univision and TUDN – becoming the most-watched MLS All-Star game of all-time on Spanish-language television among Adults 18-49 and second among Total Viewers 2+ (trailing only the 2017 edition).

The match peaked during the 11:30 p.m. ET quarter hour with 1.6 million Total Viewers 2+ and 885,000 Adults 18-49. In addition, the match saw triple-digit growth versus the 2019 edition with Total Viewers 2+ (1.4 million vs. 629,000; +123%) and Adults 18-49 (736,000 vs. 366,000; +101%). (Univision)

NASCAR Michigan Viewership Up from Last Year’s Doubleheader

Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race from Michigan averaged a 1.5 rating and 2.51 million viewers on NBCSN, up a tick in ratings and 5% in viewership from last year (1.4, 2.37M) but down 17% and 14% respectively from 2019 (1.8, 2.90M). Keep in mind that last year’s race was the second of a doubleheader weekend at the track, with a Saturday race there pulling a 1.0 and 1.65 million. Starting this year, there is only one Michigan Cup race per season.

Notably, while ratings increased just 4% from last year, the share was up a more substantial 21%. The share is the percentage of households viewing in the average minute out of the number of homes with televisions in use.

In other motorsports action, IndyCar on NBCSN chipped in a 0.25 and 434,000 at Gateway Motorsports Park Saturday night and the NHRA on FOX scored a 0.48 and 735,000 on Sunday afternoon. (SportsMediaWatch)

Yankees Ratings

YES Network has seen favorable numbers all season long. During this recent stretch of New York Yankees’ dominance on the field has translated into a recent surge in viewership. YES’ Primetime Yankees games since the conclusion of the Olympics have been averaging 361,000 Total Viewers in the New York DMA, easily out-delivering all other primetime schedules in the market, including broadcast affiliates’. Friday’s Yankees-A’s game averaged 295,000 Total Viewers in the New York DMA, making it YES’ most-viewed Late Night West Coast telecast since 2017

Seven of YES’ nine Primetime Yankees games since the conclusion of the Olympics have been the most-viewed English-language program on that particular night in the New York DMA. August has been YES’ best month of the 2021 season in terms of Yankees viewership, with the network’s averaging 325,000 Total Viewers per Yankees telecast this month. Five of the YES App’s 10 most-streamed Yankees games this season have occurred this month. (YES Network)

Last week, Yankees-Braves on Aug. 24 was YES’ most-viewed Primetime game of the year, averaging 423,000 Total Viewers in the New York DMA.

Viewership peaked during the 10:45-11:00 pm quarter-hour last night when 544,000 Total Viewers tuned in to the telecast. YES was the most-viewed TV network in the New York DMA on that night for 12 consecutive quarter hours (8 pm to 11 pm).

71,000 unique streamers watched the game last night on the YES App, making it the second most-viewed game ever on either the YES App or its predecessor, FOX Sports GO.
Since the conclusion of the Tokyo Olympics, seven of YES’ nine Primetime Yankees games have been the most-viewed English-language program in the New York DMA.
YES has had 15 games this season (out of 101 games) that have averaged more than 350,000 Total Viewers; by comparison, YES had 17 such games in 131 total games in 2019. (YES Network)

Two weeks ago, each YES Yankees Primetime game has been the most-viewed English-language Primetime show on that particular night: Thursday night vs. Twins; Wednesday night vs. Red Sox; and Monday night vs. the Angels.

YES has been averaging 317,000 Total Viewers for its Yankees games this month, its best viewership month of the season

Thus far this season, YES has had 39 Yankees games that averaged 300,000 Total Viewers or more (out of 98 games), just two shy of YES’ 41 games that averaged at least 300,000 Total Viewers in 131 games in 2019.

Twins-Yankees on Aug. 19 marked the fourth Yankees game in August to crack the Top 15 YES App Yankees games this season re most unique streams. Since the trade deadline, the YES App’s unique-streams-per-Yankees-game average is up 16% versus its season average. (YES Network)

Runhappy Travers on Fox Delivers Best Performance Since 2015

1,080,000 viewers watched Essential Quality win the 152nd Runhappy Travers Stakes on Fox. This showing was the event’s best performance since 2015 and was up +80% over last year’s deliverable (606,000) (Twitter)

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