Initial TV Ratings are Good for FC Cincinnati vs. Fire

We will know the exact number in the upcoming weeks, but the initial TV ratings for Wednesday’s FC Cincinnati vs. Chicago match have turned out to be pretty good. This was the first time ESPN has aired a US Open Cup match prior to the semi-finals and these numbers could lead to more matches on the air in the future.

According to, Wednesday’s match had approx. 300,000 viewers. These numbers are not official yet and do not incorporate ESPN Deportes, streamed views or adjusted stats. According to several sources, MLS averaged between 308,000-312,000 for matches on ESPN in 2016. With the additional tallies to come in, we could easily see Wednesday match surpass the 2016 average.

With the short turnaround in promoting the match as well as the match lining up outside ESPN’s traditional MLS weekend slots, I think these numbers should be viewed as very positive for FC Cincinnati and our MLS expansion bid.

FC Cincinnati is listed as the smallest media market of all 12 MLS Expansion candidates (36th in MSA). If you add Dayton into that equation, the club would jump into the top half (combined 21st MSA).

I am sure Major League Soccer will look at these numbers once official, to see if Cincinnati can indeed draw good viewers for national matches. If the match did draw at or above the league average, I think that could turn some heads in the New York offices.

The in-stadium experience was incredible as over 32,000 fans packed Nippert in what was hailed as an amazing moment for soccer in our country. Read our match report from Wednesday that includes video and photos surrounding the match.

We will look for more information as additional television and streaming ratings will be provided.

@bryanweigel for @CincySoccerTalk


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