Major League Soccer kicked off the 2023 season last weekend with a nationwide streaming rights deal. This is a hot topic in the US sports industry as the world of traditional television is turned upside down.
The problem is, we don’t know how many people watched live games when the MLS Season Pass debuted.
why? Because the partner is not talking about it.
A 10-year, $2.5 billion media rights deal will put all MLS games on a new streaming app within the Apple TV+ system, and a separate deal will air 30 games non-exclusively on the Fox TV network.
The traditionally mute Apple doesn’t disclose audience data, at least for now, and streamed games aren’t measured by Nielsen. MLS isn’t even talking.
Nielsen data shows that an average of 390,000 viewers watched Fox TV’s broadcast of Nashville SC’s 2-0 victory over NYCFC. On Sunday, FC Colorado’s 4-0 Seattle Sounders game over his Rapids was also shown on linear TV, but FS1’s ratings weren’t immediate.
The opening weekend of MLS was free with the league’s Apple TV app. We also know that all MLS Season Ticket holders have obtained an access code to get the MLS Season Pass for free. So did T-Mobile’s client.
The MLS linear TV deal is 15 games on Fox and 19 games on FS1. It also airs on Fox Deportes in Spanish. Fox has made the strategic decision not to offer standalone premium his streaming services like ESPN+ and NBC’s Peacock for now.
A year ago, the MLS opened nationally on Fox, attracting 436,000 viewers to Saturday’s primetime opening match, a 2-2 Timbers Revolution draw. The next day saw mid-afternoon games averaging 174,000 viewers on FS1 and a 5:00 p.m. kickoff on ESPN averaging 190,000 viewers. The rest of the weekend’s games aired on ESPN+ and local market broadcast partners.
We only have audience data available for Fox’s only game, so we can’t compare how this year’s opening weekend fared against last season’s debut weekend. They will, but some viewers may not be watching at all.
Data from Sports Business Journal show that Disney-owned channels (ABC, ESPN, ESPN2) averaged 309,000 season viewers for MLS national matches last season, with ABC leading the pack with an average of 469,000. . The Fox network averaged 198,000 MLS game viewers in 2022, while Fox itself averaged 443,000 viewers.
These are full-season linear television averages, so it’s still not possible or useful to compare viewership figures for this season. (Mexico’s Liga MX and the English Premier League) are leading American soccer TV viewers away, while MLS’ growth as a sports asset cannot be judged.
Also, amidst the broader turmoil and tension of changing sports fan viewing habits — streaming versus linear TV — and the economics of that shift, how is the major leagues moving much of their live game inventory to streaming? I don’t even know if it works. Network and tech giants are losing billions in technology as more and more content is streamed behind his paywall.
Two of last weekend’s games were postponed due to weather. LA Galaxy vs. LAFC Rose Bowl Sunday night — game reportedly sold over 70,000 tickets and rescheduled for July 4th. Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City postponed to Monday.
MLS will produce streamed games and instead of home and away TV booths, each will have a broadcast crew of one person, much like an NFL game. No more MLS games on local sports networks. All of TV and streaming is now national. There is still a team radio feed available through the Apple TV app.
Instead of traditional TV advertising arrangements, in which broadcasters guarantee brands a certain amount of viewership for the price of advertising, Apple is offering three tiers of seasonal advertising and sponsorship deals ranging in price from $1.5 million to $4 million. are selling, according to an article in January, report From Bloomberg.
The MLS Season Pass is $79 a year in addition to your Apple TV+ subscription. Or you can get it for $99 without buying the full Apple TV+ package. It’s a standalone app within Apple TV+ that shows several games each week in front of a streaming paywall.
LIV Golf debuts on The CW
LIV Golf’s controversial and controversial 2023 schedule kicked off with a tournament at Mexico’s El Camaleon Mayakoba Golf Course. The tournament was first broadcast by The CW as part of the Saudi-backed tour’s new television deal.
Unsurprisingly, few saw Charles Howell III as the individual winner and Crashers GC (including Bryson DeChambeau and Howell and two others) as the team winner.
The average viewership for the tournament was 286,000 on Saturday and 291,000 on Sunday.
In contrast, Sunday’s final round of the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic averaged 2.38 million viewers on NBC. He averaged 1.61 million viewers for Saturday’s round.
NBC’s gymnastics coverage (948,000) on Saturday also outperformed the LIV. Kaitlyn Clarke’s buzzer-beater lifted No. 6 Iowa past No. 2 Indiana on his ESPN on Sunday (622,000). and all XFL 2.0 games (see below).
LIV’s ratings weren’t helped by some select CW affiliates hide tournaments Because their owners have ties to rival PGA Tours, including eight CBS-owned CW affiliates and others in Chicago, San Diego and Hartford-New Haven, Connecticut, per Deadline.
Under a media rights deal, The CW will broadcast the weekend portion of the three-day tournament on television, but Friday coverage will be exclusively via the network’s ad-supported streaming app.
— Greg Norman (@SharkGregNorman) February 27, 2023
The financials of the deal were not disclosed, but The New York Times reports that the arrangement could be a revenue-sharing arrangement rather than a traditional cash payment. One of five national broadcast networks in the United States, The CW broadcasts live nine LIV events and another five international tournaments. tape delay.
LIV Golf’s debut season kicked off last June in London, averaging 104,000 US viewers on YouTube and ended with 40,000 viewers at the Miami event in October. Bangkok’s stop was the lowest at 21,000. This was not a tournament aided by large time zone differences. Although he didn’t have a traditional TV deal last year, the tour streamed the event on his YouTube, Facebook, and proprietary social platforms — reportedly taking his $2 billion from the $620 billion Public Investment Fund. of Saudi oil despite his money being backed.
LIV has several international TV and streaming deals, including DAZN, and now has an American TV partner after streaming eight tournaments in 2022.
The LIV has opted for a more brutal, 54-hole, uncut tournament format, offering lavish contracts and huge prize money to lure players off the PGA Tour.
The CW, which recently changed ownership and appears to be moving away from traditional teen and young adult programming, averaged 574,000 viewers per day last year, Variety reports. 25th place Across US channels.
With the network still in flux programming, new to live sports, and LIV still a start-up, it will take some time for audience averages and demographics to settle. Tournaments can generate more viewers than any of his other CW shows, including Sunday primetime reruns of “The Funniest Animal in the World,” where he doubled LIV’s viewership.
LIV’s next event is a tournament on March 17th at The Gallery Golf Club in Arizona.
The second week of a new sport’s first season is always a useful yardage marker. Because the plethora of casual curiosity viewers from the debut either decreased or stuck to programming.
The second weekend of XFL 2.0 was interesting as viewership declined, but the broadcast schedule was different from the first weekend. Not ideal for building consistency and fan affinity, but still early.
The St. Louis Battlehawks’ 20-18 win over the Seattle Sea Dragons averaged 524,000 viewers on Disney-owned cable channel FX. It was the first Thursday game in the league and the first for FX alone. (We did a simulcast with ESPN last week.)
According to Sports Business Journal’s Jon Ourand, the only Saturday game in the league was the DC Defenders’ 18-6 victory over the Vegas Vipers at FX’s 7pm kickoff, which averaged 601,000 viewers. bottom. A week ago Saturday he had two games.
Sunday’s doubleheader kicked off with a 30-12 thumping San Antonio victory over the hosts Orlando Guardians with a 4:00 p.m. kickoff that averaged 781,000 viewers on ESPN. The nightcap was Houston’s 23-14 primetime victory over the Arlington Renegades during his visit, averaging 678,000 viewers on ESPN2’s 7 p.m. kickoff.
That’s an average of 646,000 viewers for the four games in Week 2, nearly half a week from the average of 1.29 million viewers for the four games in Week 1 (including games on ABC and ESPN). decrease in the number of viewers per Not unexpected, but a trend to watch as the 10-week regular season progresses.
Three years ago, XFL (then still owned by Vince McMahon) saw its opening weekend viewership drop from 3.12 million viewers on its debut to nearly 2 million viewers in its second week. That version of his XFL ended after him five weeks due to the start of the pandemic.
Since 2020, the TV industry has seen cord cutting accelerate. Additionally, there has been an explosion of streaming services and live sports rights navigating behind streaming paywalls. Here are the numbers for Week 2 of the 2023 XFL, but they do exist. And does the network have something else that can fill the time slot where it can get a lot of viewers at a low cost?
According to Sportico, Disney’s five-year broadcasting rights deal with XFL is worth between $100 million and $150 million, and the owner group, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, has a capital stake that will last for years. says that there is The USFL is owned by Fox, and over three years he reportedly made a $150 million budget.
Week 3 of the XFL is yet another schedule variation. The first week consisted of two games on Saturdays and Sundays, and the second week consisted of one game on Thursday, one game on Saturday, and two games on Sunday. FX currently has games on Saturday at 7pm, followed by a triple header on Sunday. Games will take place at 1:00pm and 4:00pm on FX, and kick-off will take place at 8:00pm on ESPN2.
Don’t expect big eyeball sums with lower tier cable channel games without ABC or ESPN games. His next XFL game on the ‘Big’ channel kicks off at 1:30pm on March 25th and kicks off at 3pm that day.
All viewing data is from Nielsen and Adobe Analytics and other metrics via TV Networks, Nielsen, Sports Media Watch, ShowBuzz Daily, 506Sports.com, and leagues unless otherwise noted . Always US East.
(Seattle midfielder Christian Roldan celebrates a first-half goal in the Sounders’ win over the Colorado Rapids Photo: Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)