MLS is Back Tournament Opener Delivers Second Highest MLS Regular Season Audience on ESPN in Three Seasons

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MLS is Back Tournament Opener Delivers Second Highest MLS Regular Season Audience on ESPN in Three Seasons

  • Orlando City SC-Inter Miami CF Nets 492,000 Viewers on ESPN and ESPN Deportes
  • 2020 MLS Audience Up 27 Percent vs. 2019 Season-to-Date Average

Last night’s MLS is Back Tournament opening match – a 2-1 Orlando City SC victory over in-state rival Inter Miami CF – averaged 492,000 viewers on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, according to Nielsen. This is the second most-viewed MLS regular-season telecast (over 64 matches) on ESPN networks since March 11, 2018, when 583,000 people (2+) tuned in for DC United vs. Atlanta United; behind 663,000 combined viewers for the 2020 season-opening LAFC-Inter Miami CF match on March 1.

Season-to-date, Major League Soccer is averaging 489,000 combined viewers on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, a 27 percent increase compared to the first four matches in 2019 (384,000 viewers). Orlando City SC-Inter Miami CF is ESPN’s fourth match of the 2020 MLS season. The previous three were played in early March before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • On ESPN: the MLS is Back Tournament opener averaged 464,000 viewers – ESPN’s fifth most-viewed regular season telecast in five seasons. The audience peaked from 9:45-10 p.m. ET with 521,000 viewers.
  • On ESPN Deportes: an additional 28,000 viewers.

The top 10 markets: Orlando (1.4), Kansas City (1.1), Atlanta (1.0), Miami (0.9), Columbus, Ohio (0.7), Providence (0.5), Cleveland (0.5), Philadelphia (0.5), Minneapolis-St. Paul (0.5), and Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, Va. (0.4).

MLS is Back Tournament Continues on ESPN Networks:

ESPN networks will carry 27 matches throughout the MLS is Back Tournament Final on Aug. 11. Coverage continues with four matches this weekend, starting with Seattle Sounders vs. San Jose Earthquakes on Friday, July 10, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and the ESPN App.

MLS is Back Tournament Schedule on ESPN Networks:

Date Time (ET) Match Platforms
Fri, Jul 10 9 p.m. Seattle Sounders vs. San Jose Earthquakes

Adrian Healey and Alejandro Moreno

Mauricio Pedroza and Herculez Gomez

ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Sun, Jul 12 9 a.m. Toronto FC vs. DC United

Jon Champion and Taylor Twellman

Richard Mendez and Alex Pareja

ESPN2, ESPN Deportes
  8 p.m. Sporting Kansas City vs. Minnesota United FC

Champion and Twellman

Mendez and Pareja

ESPN, ESPN Deportes
  10:30 p.m. Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado Rapids

Healey and Moreno

Pedroza and Gomez

ESPN, ESPN Deportes

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Mac Nwulu

I joined ESPN in 1998 and since then, it's been a great experience managing PR and communications for a range of ESPN initiatives and properties, including soccer, NFL and The Undefeated, ESPN’s site focusing on sports, race and urban culture and how they intersect.
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