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Evening Star: MLS ESPN ratings, NBC Sports big weekend

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The ratings are out for last weekend's MLS nationally telecast match of the week and the numbers are good. That plus a look at this weekend's national programming.

USA TODAY Sports
  • On Saturday, ESPN began a big weekend of soccer with the Confederations Cup opening match featuring Brazil taking on Japan. That Saturday afternoon tilt didn't do as well as ESPN's Sunday match-ups, only pulling in an 0.3 household rating watched by 461,000 people 2+.
  • MLS directly followed the Confederations Cup, and was able to hold onto about half the audience. The rating only dropped to an 0.2 watched by 262,000. Considering the opener featured Brazil and the MLS match featured one of MLS' best performing fan bases, I think these numbers say more about the difficulty of Saturday afternoon programming than anything else.
  • The numbers picked up Sunday, as I've already written. The ESPN Confederations Cup doubleheader on Sunday doubled what the Confederations Cup did on Saturday with Mexico vs. Italy the 18th best rated program on ESPN last week. To further illustrate the Sunday-Saturday split, the prematch show on Sunday was watched by more people than Brazil vs. Japan.
  • With Mexico in the Confederations Cup, the tournament continues to set records for Univision even during the week. It'll be interesting to see how ESPN's numbers compare, but live soccer programming at the international level has a benchmark now on ESPN that it usually hits.
  • The national MLS slate is all on Sunday this week, which is a good thing for ratings. Philadelphia-New York has been teased during Confederations Cup coverage and will have the benefit of that lead in. Portland-Colorado is part of a big soccer weekend on NBC Sports, and UniMas will have the Spanish broadcast of Chivas-Galaxy late.