2021 MLS Cup Scores ESPN Networks’ Best Audience for Major League Soccer Championship Game since 2009

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2021 MLS Cup Scores ESPN Networks’ Best Audience for Major League Soccer Championship Game since 2009

  • 1,140,000 viewers ranks among the top-five MLS Cup matches on ABC/ESPN since 1999
  • 2021 MLS Cup audience up 38 percent compared to 2019 championship match on ABC

Saturday’s 2021 MLS Cup presented by Audi – a thrilling 4-2 penalty shootout victory for New York City FC over Portland Timbers after a 1-1 tie through regulation and extra time – averaged 1,140,000 viewers, making it the most-watched MLS Cup match on ABC and ESPN networks since 2009. The audience peaked in the final quarter hour (6-6:15 p.m. ET) during a portion of the penalty shootout with 1,630,000 viewers.

The audience was 38 percent higher than the 825,000 viewers who watched Seattle Sounders vs. Toronto FC on ABC in the 2019 MLS Cup – the last Major League Soccer title match on an ESPN network.

Top five audiences for MLS Cup games on ABC/ESPN since 1999:

Date MLS Cup Matchup Network Viewers (P2+)
Sun, Oct 21, 2001 San Jose Earthquakes vs. LA Galaxy ABC 1,500,000
Sun, Nov 12, 2006 Houston Dynamo vs. New England Revolution ABC 1,250,000
Sun, Oct 20, 2002 New England Revolution vs. LA Galaxy ABC 1,170,000
Sun, Nov 22, 2009 Real Salt Lake vs. LA Galaxy ESPN 1,141,000
Sat, Dec 11, 2021 Portland Timbers vs. New York City FC ABC 1,140,000

***The audience in this report reflects match windows

Top-10 markets: Portland, Ore. (11.7), Greenville-Spartanburg-Asheville-Anderson (2.1), Seattle-Tacoma (1.8), New York (1.5), Cincinnati (1.5), Raleigh-Durham (Fayetteville) (1.4), Hartford and New Haven (1.3), Philadelphia (1.3), Atlanta (1.2), and Nashville (1.2).

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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 over the years. I am currently focused on soccer and The Undefeated, ESPN’s site focusing on sports, race and urban culture and how they intersect.
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