In MLS' last year with its current national television deals (ESPN, NBC Sports, and Univision respectively), and in a World Cup year to boot, every bit of ratings news is likely to be analyzed to death. NBC Sports opened its MLS slate with the Seattle Sounders hosting Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, and saw a great increase over its MLS opener last season.
While an 0.23 rating is not great by any measure, it was good for a 283% increase over last season's NBC Sports opener. The telecast was NBC Sports' second best ever rating for broadcasting an MLS match, and having an EPL match between Chelsea and Tottenham as a lead in was a big part of that.
This weekend NBC goes with the EPL match into MLS doubleheader again, this time with Aston Villa hosting Chelsea as the lead in. With Chelsea currently at the top of the table, and with the MLS match in question featuring both Seattle and the debuts of Michael Bradley and Jermain Defoe, it should be another banner week.
The company rumored to be in a position to take over the NBC Sports contract, Fox Sports, will have a chance to broadcast the midweek CONCACAF Champions League. Tonight Fox will put San Jose vs Toluca on Fox Sports 2 (which is not in HD for Time Warner customers) and they will do the same thing Wednesday with Sporting Kansas City taking on Cruz Azul.
LA Galaxy fans will be able to watch their team take on Club Tijuana Wednesday if they have Fox Soccer+ which does broadcast in HD. It's disappointing that with three matches between MLS teams and Mexican teams, Fox didn't chose to put one on Fox Sports 1. It's also not a good sign for those worried about how Fox will treat the MLS contract should they get it.