With a huge lead-in program from the 2018 FIFA World Cup featuring Uruguay’s 2-1 win over Portugal almost immediately preceding the MLS match on broadcast FOX, there was a strong chance for a record, and that’s exactly what FOX got. Featuring the strongest rivalry in US soccer, the game between the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers earned a 1.1 rating/3 share in overnights, good for the highest ever rating for a regular season match on FOX. The ratings and share are per FOX PR. Total viewership will be out early in the coming week.
Uruguay versus Portugal earned a 4.4 and was the highest overnight rating for a soccer match since the 2014 World Cup Final.
To put the Seattle-Portland match in perspective, it will beat every regular season match, with the possible exception of Univision’s June 28, 2016 California Clasico game between the LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes. That earned an even million viewers as it followed the United States versus Colombia in the Copa America.
Only two MLS Cup Finals earned higher than the 1.1 rating that the Cascadia Cup contest earned. Those two were on ABC in 1996 and 1997. Some combined Spanish-English ratings may be higher.
Seattle will face Atlanta on FOX immediately following the World Cup Final on July 15. That game will likely break the record set Saturday.
Unfortunately, Saturday’s record ratings were of a Sounders loss.