MLS games on ABC and ESPN networks averaged an audience of 384,000 through 18 matches, a 50% increased compared to the shortened 2020 regular season’s average of 257,000. Additionally, the season is up 39% compared to the 2019 season average, which was 277,000.

There are a few reasons why MLS TV viewership is soaring. One of them is that ABC televised five games this season – the most MLS matches on the broadcast network since 1998 – and delivered an average audience of 507,000 viewers. Last year, three ABC matches averaged 318,000 viewers, marking a 63% increase.

ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 are on track to deliver Major League Soccer's most-watched season since 2000, boasting 358,000 average viewers up to date. The average to beat is 378,000, recorded by the same three English-language networks averaged in 2000. 

Top-five MLS matches on ABC and ESPN networks in 2021

  1. ABC – Portland Timbers 1-2 Seattle Sounders (Sunday, May 9) – 660,000 Viewers (P2+)
  2. ABC – Inter Miami 1-1 Atlanta United (Sunday, May 9) – 557,000 Viewers (P2+)
  3. ESPN – Atlanta United 2-2 Philadelphia Union (Sunday, June 10) – 546,000 Viewers (P2+)
  4. ESPN – LAFC 1-1 Seattle Sounders (Saturday, April 24) – 499,000 Viewers (P2+)
  5. ABC – Inter Miami 2-3 LA Galaxy (Sunday, April 18) – 482,000 Viewers (P2+)

Top moments of Heineken Rivalry Week 

How are views not going to be up when the league consistently produces moments like these:

LAFC's Brian Rodriguez solo goal against LA Galaxy

USMNT prospect Ricardo Pepi reaches 10 goals this season

Another signature Lucas Zelarayan free kick

Timber's Felipe Mora sinks rivals Seattle

Sweet hit by El Tico Ronald Matarrita