The numbers won't exactly blow you away, but the 2012 MLS Cup actually did better total viewership numbers than it did a year ago. That comes despite ESPN having lower ratings on its broadcast. The reason? Telefutura saw a 58 percent improvement over last year's numbers, more than making up for the .1 decline in ESPN's ratings.
TeleFutura's coverage of the MLS Cup Saturday drew 485,000 viewers (up +58% from '11). ESPN averaged 797,000 viewers for the same game.— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) December 4, 2012
Now, drawing about 1.3 million eyeballs to your signature event is hardly anything to do cartwheels over. That represents about .5 percent of the country. Clearly, MLS has a lot of room to grow.
But this is at least a positive sign, especially among an audience who clearly has never embraced MLS the way league organizers have always hoped they would. Hispanics obviously represent a significant portion of the soccer-watching audience in the United States and if MLS can appeal to more of them, that has the potential to be a real game-changer.
It surely helped that the teams playing both hail from regions with lots of Spanish speakers, but this was also the same two teams that played last year. Has something finally clicked?