- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On January 19, 2009
- 10 Comments
- ESPN, MLS Primetime Thursday, Soccer on TV
The weekly MLS Primetime Thursday is now no more, or for at least the time being it is no more. The World Wide Leader decided today to cut the weekly telecast of the American soccer league citing its lack of ratings as a problem.
“We didn’t see the kind of ratings climb we’d like to, so we’re trying something different,” said Scott Guglielmino, ESPN vice president of programming.
The decision to cancel the regular Thursday night game marks a stunning turnaround for a league that two years ago believed it was creating destination programming that would increase interest in MLS. But even the 2007 arrival of David Beckham couldn’t boost MLS ratings.
MLS games averaged a 0.2 rating and 289,000 viewers on ESPN2 in 2007. Those numbers dropped to 0.2/253,000 viewers the following year. Its highest rating during that period was Beckham’s second regular-season game in August 2007 that earned a 0.6/658,000 households.
Instead ESPN will now carry a MLS Game of the Week on it’s telecast. The Sports Business Journal cited today that it will be aired on four different nights throughout the season. The weekly matches will occur on Thursdays (10 times), Saturdays (eight times), Wednesdays (six times) and Fridays (three times).
Its a tough blow to the league but in all reality I kind of see this as a blessing. Thursday nights and really week night games anymore in American sports carry little in terms of ratings. Pushing to get more weekend telecasts of their games is where the league needs to be anyways. You see this in terms of attendance right now, the mid-week matches stuggle to sellout (except for a couple locations) while the weekend number typically do much better.
What do you all make of this news? Think it could be damaging to the league or will it help it out in the long run?