Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Viewership spike for NBC Sports Network with first MLS telecast of 2012

NBC Sports Network’s first MLS telecast, Sunday afternoon’s game between FC Dallas and the New York Red Bulls, drew a 0.07 national household rating, the network announced Tuesday. That’s equivalent to about 82,000 viewers.

The number seems low, but it represents a more than threefold increase from last year’s opening telecast on Fox Soccer, which was replaced by NBC this season as MLS’s second English-language U.S. broadcast partner.

ESPN has been televising games since the league’s inception in 1996 and averaged 291,000 viewers per game on ESPN and ESPN2 last year. Fox Soccer averaged a 0.04 rating/68,000 viewers over the full 2011 regular season.

Both the New York and Dallas markets received 0.30 household ratings on Sunday.

Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports Group, told Sporting News recently that the network will be shooting for a 0.3-0.4 rating on NBC Sports Network, formerly known as Versus, this season and a 1.0 for the three games scheduled for NBC’s flagship broadcast network.

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