It should not come as a surprise that an epic MLS Cup Playoffs match between the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders set a record for most watched local broadcast. The surprise is that it did so on a night when the team was at home with nearly 40,000 in the stands, and up against the World Series on Fox and the GOP debate on CNBC. While both the World Series and GOP debate had higher overall ratings in the Seattle market, the Sounders' match topped those among viewers 25-54.
The match had strong viewer numbers nationwide on UniMas as well.
On UniMás DC United/New England: 225K Seattle-LA Galaxy 363K https://t.co/t3u3UPhXPo— Sports TV Ratings (@SportsTVRatings) October 29, 2015
UniMas isn't as available as ESPN or FS1, but is broadcast over-the-air in significant portions of the country, in addition to being widely available on cable/satellite.
Efforts to get a full viewership number would be complex. The match was on JOETv in the Seattle metro area, on ROOT Sports throughout the Pacific Northwest and on UniMas in the rest of the USA.
When Adrian Hanauer talks about indicators that the potential fanbase for the Sounders is not yet tapped out, he can look at numbers like these. With so many more options, 5.1% of televisions in the market were tuned into the Sounders. That's roughly 40-60,000 households, as not every TV is used at a given time.
Sure, it was the two most popular teams in MLS in a must-win game. Maybe just a few of them decide to come to Sunday's game, or buy 2016 season tickets, or watch a few more games next year. That's exactly what the team, and the league are looking for. There is no magic switch to flip, just a changing of generations.
Seattle's next MLS Cup Playoff game is Sunday November 1st at 6:30 PM Pacific on FoxSports 1. There will not be a local broadcast.