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OSC Weekly Ratings Wrapup

by David Carlson
April 17, 2019 - Major League Soccer (MLS)

It was another week in which MLS matches were not generating enough of an audience to even register in the Top 150 cable shows for the day, at least in the 18-49 demo, but also likely in overall viewers, as soccer matches aren't a ratings force for people over 50. The worrisome part is it isn't even that high a bar to make the Top 150. Either day a .06 or .05 would have brought the MLS games into that range. A whole rating point for 18-49 year olds is approximately 1.3 million people in that audience, so a .05 is 1/20th of that, or 65,000. Nielsen is estimating that fewer than 65,000 18-49 year olds nationwide watched either of those MLS broadcasts.

Last Week's OSC Leagues Ratings Summary:

Saturday April 13
MLS on ESPN2, 5pmNot ranked in Top 150
Sunday April 14
MLS on FS1, 7pmNot ranked in Top 150


One of the interesting lists that you'll see in ratings articles is the list of the top markets for various events, as in, which markets had the highest percentage of people in their market watching the games. NFL marquee prime time games get this list reported a lot.

New leagues such as the AAF and XFL can go in different directions when selecting markets. The AAF went with a lot of traditional alternative football markets including Orlando, Birmingham, San Antonio and Memphis, while the XFL chose major markets, many of them home to NFL teams. But another factor a new league could consider would be what markets are watching the NFL more than most other markets.

Here is a sample of various top market lists for a selection of games in 2018. Capitalized will be non-NFL markets which also shouldn't have a known rooting interest in watching the matchup. For instance, San Antonio watching a Dallas or Houston game in a high percentage wouldn't be included in these lists:

[email protected] SNF - Milwaukee, Chicago, Minneapolis, New Orleans, RICHMOND (VA), Denver, ALBUQUERQUE, Phoenix, SACRAMENTO, NORFOLK (VA)

[email protected] Playoff - Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans, Milwaukee, NORFOLK, RICHMOND, Kansas City, Buffalo, Dallas, Minneapolis

[email protected] MNF - New Orleans, NORFOLK, RICHMOND, Kansas City, Denver, D.C., Seattle, San Diego, ALBUQUERQUE, Phoenix

[email protected] Playoff - KC, Indianapolis, New Orleans, RICHMOND, NORFOLK, Denver, Dallas, San Diego, D.C., Philadelphia

It is pretty obvious that mid-Virginia - Richmond and Norfolk/Virginia Beach - are hotbeds of football viewers, yet among the attempts to start a spring football league, only the United Football League has placed a team there. Although they aren't the largest TV markets (Norfolk is #44 and Richmond is #56), they still would likely deliver better local results in ratings and attendance than some other markets. Albuquerque also is in that 40s range (ranked #47), but consistently is in the top 10 of these lists.

NOTE: Don't know what the "demo" is? Unsure of why the different ratings numbers don't match up? Read our explanation of TV ratings in our first article here.

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