One of the highlights of the MLS off-season is the annual year in sports report from Nielsen, you know the TV ratings people. Well they do more than just TV ratings, they also look at other factors and information and put together reports about various things including sports.
I am often a fairly harsh critic of MLS, not because I dislike the league but because I truly believe that is can be a major player in both the US sports scene as well as in worldwide soccer. Neither of those things will come easily as some of the numbers from this years Nielsen report shows, we know the reality that the SuperBowl gets over 100 million people to watch it on TV, the NFL gets a huge amount of money for their TV rights. MLS Cup struggles to get 1 million people and while the new MLS TV contract is rumored to be a huge jump from the current numbers, rumors say $70-75 million per year is what the new deal will provide.
So let’s take a look at some of the numbers, perhaps nothing gives us a better view of where MLS is than looking at the demographics of who watches MLS on TV:
There are a couple things that really with 32% of MLS viewers being female being tops, that puts MLS ahead of both the NBA and MLB, tied with the NHL and trailing the NFL which has 35% of their audience being female. Surprisingly NASCAR has 37% female viewers. The next was 14% number of those under 18, which compares with 9% for the NFL and NHL, 13% for the NBA, 7% for MLB, and 5% for NASCAR.