WNBA Averaged More Viewers Than MLS This Season
The WNBA has been mocked for longer than one could remember but recent numbers published by Sports Business Daily prove that the enigma of a lackluster women's basketball league will soon vanish. Unfortunately, the WNBA's success has been showcased at the expense of Major League Soccer.
Despite the tremendous problem that Chivas USA has created for the league, the MLS still manages to be on par with the NBA and NHL when it comes to stadium attendance. Although the numbers have dropped since David Beckham's departure, the MLS keeps averaging about 18,500 fans per game across the country.
It's fair to say that for a relatively young league the MLS is doing an excellent job in continued growth, adding new teams in different cities and capturing the attention of important sponsors. Despite their imminent success on the field, television ratings are still not a strong suit for Major League Soccer.
There are many things that US Soccer and MLS could do to improve their viewership. The topic makes way for an endless conversation but changing the league to the schedule of the top leagues in the world, or completely reconstructing the infrastructure of the way the league is divided into two conferences, are two of many things that could raise interest.
Since the league is most likely following its current route for longer than one would hope for, it's hard to project growth in TV ratings for the near future. However, it's evident that teams of the MLS are steadily raising their talent to the next level and out of all the solutions to their troubles, playing high-class soccer is the only way that Major League Soccer will surpass other sports in an overly-saturated sports market.
WNBA 2013 TV Ratings
Regular season (ESPN2): 231,000 viewers
Finals (ESPN2): 344,000 viewers
How WNBA measures up against other prime time and non-prime-time programming
Solheim Cup (Golf Channel): 521,000 viewers
Global X Games* (ESPN): 497,000 viewers
“Friday Night Fights”* (2012 on ESPN2): 409,000 viewers
NCAA Frozen Four* (ESPN/ESPN2): 301,000 viewers
U.S. Open Series** (ESPN2): 290,000 viewers
NCAA women’s basketball** (ESPN2): 289,000 viewers
IndyCar (NBCSN): 282,000 viewers
NCAA softball: Regionals** (ESPN2): 273,000 viewers
NCAA softball: Regular season** (ESPN2): 258,000 viewers
MLS regular reason** (ESPN/ESPN2): 220,000 viewers
MLS regular season** (NBCSN): 112,000
* Prime time
** Prime time and afternoon
Sources: Sports Business Daily
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