- 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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