via press release:
INAUGURAL SEASON OF NBC SPORTS GROUP'S MLS PARTNERSHIP EXPERIENCES TREMENDOUS GROWTH
41 Regular Season Games on NBC (3) and NBC Sports Network (38) up 122% in Average Viewership From Last Year's Regular Season Average on Fox Soccer Channel
Viewership of 38 Regular Season Games on NBC Sports Network Up 79% vs. Comparable Schedule in 2011
Viewership of MLS Playoffs on NBC and NBC Sports Network up 77% vs. Comparable 2011 Playoff Average
More Than 13.2 Million Total Viewers Watched the MLS on NBC and NBC Sports Network in 2012, Nearly Five Times The Total Audience For Fox Soccer Channel in 2011 (2.7 million)
NBC Sports Group’s Inaugural MLS Season Received Critical Acclaim
NEW YORK – November 28, 2012 – NBC Sports Group, in its first season in partnership with Major League Soccer, experienced tremendous growth among viewers and across key male demos. For the 2012 MLS season, NBC Sports Group presented 41 regular season games - three on NBC and 38 on NBC Sports Network. Viewership was up 122% compared to the 2011 regular season of Fox Soccer Channel (151,000 vs. 68,000). Viewership was also up among male demos with Men 18-34 up 63% and Men 18-49 up 50%.
The 2012 MLS season on NBC Sports Network (38 games) was up 79% when compared to the similar schedule in 2011 (122,000 vs. 68,000). Additionally, NBC Sports Network saw a rise in the key male demographics. Viewership was up 47% among Men 18-34 and 29% among Men 18-49.
The MLS Playoffs also enjoyed significant increases for NBC and NBC Sports Network, with average viewership up 77% from the comparable 2011 Playoff average (177,000 vs. 100,000).
In all, NBC Sports Group’s MLS coverage reached more than 13.2 million total viewers during the 2012 season, nearly five times Fox Soccer’s total audience for the 2011 season (2.7 million).
The inaugural season of MLS on NBC received critial acclaim for its production and talent. NBC teamed veteran play-by-play voice Arlo White, who Sports Illustrated called “a gem,” with former MLS and U.S. National Team player Kyle Martino. Martino was positioned “between the benches” and not in the booth with White, which provided fans with unique field level insight in addition to game analysis.
The Tampa Bay Times said, “NBC Sports Network’s coverage looked great and sounded even better with Kyle Martino between the benches.”
Soccer America said NBC Sports Network’s soccer telecasts, “brought a crisp, professional sheen to the telecast, utilizing replays smartly and not cluttering up the telecast with bizarre camera placements or in-game fluff interviews.”
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About NBC Sports Group’s Soccer Coverage
The NBC Sports Group’s networks and platforms are leading destinations for soccer fans in the U.S. Its soccer portfolio includes Major League Soccer (MLS), U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Team matches, the men’s and women’s Olympic soccer tournaments, MLS 36, which follows one MLS player for 36 hours before game day and, beginning in August 2013, the Premier League. NBCUniversal, via the NBC Sports Group, will be the home for all 380 Premier League matches, as well comprehensive shoulder programming. NBCUniversal’s Telemundo and mun2 also provide comprehensive Spanish-language soccer coverage. Both channels will air Premier League matches, as well as serve as the U.S. Spanish-language home for the FIFA World Cup from 2015 through 2022. Online, ProSoccerTalk on NBCSports.com provides comprehensive coverage of the sport, from the Premier League to MLS to the U.S. National Team and other key international soccer stories.