Sporting Kansas City wasn’t the only winner on Dec. 7.
Univision’s UniMás can also boast that it was victorious, thanks to its strong ratings for the 2013 MLS Cup, which saw Real Salt Lake lose to the Missouri squad on penalty kicks at Sporting’s home stadium.
According to Nielsen, UniMás coverage of the Major League Soccer title game (from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET) delivered an average of 514,000 total viewers and 245,000 adults aged 18-49. Univision said the UniMás telecast outdelivered ESPN’s English-language coverage of the match by 14% in total viewers and 7% among adults 18-49.
In particular, UniMás’s MLS Cup broadcast outdrew ESPN’s coverage of the same match among adults aged 18-49 in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Chicago and Sacramento.
Perhaps most notably, UniMás’s performance was up 6% among total viewers when compared to coverage of the 2012 title match.
This speaks volumes of MLS’s surging popularity among Hispanics, and MLS’s Spanish-language television coverage. In contrast, the ratings for English-language coverage of the MLS Cup have never been worse.
According to Nielsen, ESPN averaged 505,000 viewers for the Real Salt Lake-Sporting Kansas City final. This represents a 44% decline in viewers from the 2012 MLS Cup. As noted by WorldSoccerTalk.com, ESPN’s ratings were equal to that of a rerun of Everybody Loves Raymond on TBS.
To be fair, ESPN’s 2013 MLS Cup coverage out-delivered NBC Sports Network’s Barclays Premier League game of the week, Arsenal vs. Everton, by roughly 6,000 viewers. However, UniMás was quick to note that its regular season coverage of MLS games outperformed the combined coverage of NBCSN and ESPN2 among adults aged 18-49 in Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Phoenix and Sacramento. UniMás aired 23 MLS regular-season games.
With sold-out stadiums in emerging Hispanic markets, MLS has much to gain from its strong Spanish-language ratings growth. Still, the MLS Cup’s total viewers are a fraction of the number of soccer fans who tuned to the Fútbol Liga Mexicana final on Dec. 12. The 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT live telecast of León vs. Club América reached a cumulative audience of 4.7 million viewers and 2.7 million adults aged 18-49.