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OSC Weekly Ratings Wrapup

by David Carlson
October 23, 2019 - Major League Soccer (MLS)

NWSL beats FS1 MLS Sunday, but ESPN Prime Time MLS draws much more

The National Women's Soccer League held their semi-final games on Sunday, and both did well enough to rate in the Top 150 original cable shows Sunday. The second game with Chicago coming out on top outdrew the first game, pulling a .06/155k, vs. a .04/102k for the earlier North Carolina game. This rating exceeded an FS1 MLS game that didn't make the Top 150 for the day.

The primetime ESPN game did a respectable .15 and 317k viewers, though. For a direct year-to-year date comparison, MLS was still in regular season mode last year, and had a double-header on ESPN at 3p & 5p that averaged a .05-.06 and 145k viewers. To compare to the similar round last year, which took place on Sun Nov. 4, ESPN had a 5p game that rated the highest for the day with a .13 and 323k viewers, a similar result. Lower ratings happened for a 3pm ESPN game, and two prime time games on FS1.

Looking back historically for the NWSL, here is a list of the most recent times NWSL broadcasts that have done well enough to make the Top 150 Original Cable shows:

Sat 9/22/18 4:30pLifetimeNWSL Pregame.05/225k
Sat 8/11/18 3:30pLifetimeNWSL Pregame.05/188k
Sat 7/21/18 3:30pLifetimeNWSL Pregame.06/219k
Sat 5/26/18 3:30pLifetimeNWSLPregame.06/232k
Sat 5/26/18 3:50pLifetimeNWSLOrl/Chi.04/110k
Sat 5/19/18 3:30pLifetimeNWSLPregame.06/222k

This is pretty consistent throughout 2018 and 2017 for the NWSL on Lifetime. It is interesting that Lifetime was able to get around 200k viewers for a bunch of the pregame airings, but never able to keep very much for the game itself. One wonders if the reruns prior to the pregame rated pretty well, and the rating of the pregame was more of an after effect of people not switching the channel immediately after the show vs. actual interest in the NWSL itself, which then presented itself with the lackluster ratings for the actual games.

Another issue is not going against the NFL on a Sunday afternoon, which while it is hard to totally avoid, should be a consideration in league scheduling if national TV ratings have any importance to your league.

The NWSL Championship between North Carolina and Chicago will be on ESPN at 4pm on Sunday.

Last Week's OSC Leagues Ratings Summary:

10/18 7pmESPNewsCFLNot in top 150
10/193:30pmFS1MLS.10/264k
10/19 10pmESPNewsMLSNot in top 150
10/201:30pESPN2NWSL.04/102k
10/203pmFS1MLSNot in top 150
10/204:30pESPN2NWSL.06/155k
10/208:30pESPNMLS.15/317k

OSC Leagues on TV in the coming week:

10/237pmFS1MLS
10/2310pmFS1MLS
10/248pmESPN2MLS
10/2410:30pmESPNMLS
10/274pmESPNNWSL Championship

Follow OSC TV and ratings discussion at https://twitter.com/OsctvR.

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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