Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The Vanishing of MLS

MLS has had only one game on TV since August 11, over 2 weeks ago. The one game was on FOX (the main channel) and it shockingly only pulled a 0.2 rating of 374k viewers this past Saturday.

Since the last MLS game on cable TV the NBA has had 65 games and shows. The NHL? 60. Major League Baseball, which lives mostly in local markets, has had 29 national games. LigaMX has logged 22 games on cable. There have even been 7 UEFA Champions League games played.

All totaled, 256 sports-related shows have registered on cable since MLS's last MLS is Back game.

So what gives?

MLS started playing regular market games the day after MLS is Back ended on August 11th. Since then 20+ games have been played and none have shown up on a cable network. No FS1 or ESPN, no nuttin'.

All of the games have either been shown on local channels or ESPN+. Before you ask, streaming MLS games don't pull more than a couple thousand viewers at best (and no, the couple dozen illegal streamers don't move the needle). Local network viewership is normally measured in the four figures unless you are maybe a Seattle or Atlanta.

I don't know why ESPN hasn't made room for an MLS game yet. Nor why FS1 can't find a couple hours. What I do know is that it's made the league invisible.

In the coming weeks, FS1 will show a couple games. Further down the road I see another LA/LA matchup (same as the one that flopped last weekend) on FOX. That's it though. ESPN and ESPN 2, for whatever reason, are sitting the return of MLS out.

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