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MLS Opener a Ratings Winner

Written by:
Ean Lamb
Published on:
Jul/10/2020

The return to league sports in the US proved popular as Wednesday night's Inter Milan vs. Orlando City MLS is Back opener scored big in the ratings.  The global coronavirus pandemic has shut down sports leagues in the US for nearly four months now.

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The match averaged 492,000 viewers on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.

This is the second most-viewed MLS regular-season telecast (over 64 matches) on ESPN networks since March 11, 2018, when 583,000 people (2+) tuned in for DC United vs. Atlanta United.

Wednesday night's broadcast was ESPN’s fifth most-viewed regular season telecast in five seasons.

Season-to-date, Major League Soccer is averaging 489,000 combined viewers on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, a 27 percent increase compared to the first four matches in 2019 (384,000 viewers).

MLS isn't the only sport enjoying success upon its return.

NBC Sports’ first NASCAR Cup Series race of the 2020 season produced significant viewership gains from 2019, as the Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 Powered by Big Machine Records at Indianapolis Motor Speedway averaged a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 4.370 million viewers – up 46% vs. same race in 2019, which ran in September.

PGA Golf is seeing a 56% rise in viewership over last year with 2.893 million viewers. CBS Sports coverage of the four PGA Tour events since the return to golf in June is up 26% in viewership over the same tournaments last year, averaging 2.386 million viewers.

Sunday’s Formula 1 opener – the Austrian Grand Prix – averaged a 0.5 rating and 752,000 viewers on ESPN, which is the largest audience for the event since it returned to the schedule in 1997.

Competitive Eating - more specifically the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest - did not fare as well this year compared to past events. It averaged 966,000 viewers, the smallest audience since 2005 when it received 860,000 viewers.

- Ean Lamb, Gambling911.com

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