Sounders FC announced Thursday that for the second straight year, the club will partner with Q13 FOX and JOEtv for its local broadcasts in the 2015 season. This coming season also marks the first of an eight-year partnership the league has with ESPN, FOX Sports and Univision. The Rave Green are scheduled to play nationally televised games on ESPN and FOX Sports six times apiece.
Last season was a historical one for Sounders FC, not only because of the trophies it won, but also due to the club’s success in terms of TV ratings and attendance. The numbers from 2014 suggest that soccer’s popularity in America is expanding, and Seattle fans make the Emerald City one of the country’s main soccer hubs.
Below you can find some of those numbers.
Regional Ratings: Sounders FC’s local ratings in 2014 were the highest among MLS teams and the strongest in club history. The 32 percent increase from 2013 also set a club record.
Single-Match Record: The Supporters’ Shield-clinching victory over the LA Galaxy had a 0.59 rating and averaged nearly 700,000 viewers, making it NBC’s most-watched MLS match of all time.
MLS Cup Final: LA’s win over the New England Revolution, shown on ESPN, had an aggregate U.S. viewership of 1.9 million people. That was the highest number for an MLS Cup Final since 1997 and an increase of 85 percent from the 2013 Final.
FIFA World Cup: The 64 matches of last summer’s World Cup averaged 4.6 million viewers on ESPN. It was the most-viewed World Cup ever on English-language TV in the U.S. and a 39 percent increase from the 2010 World Cup.
USA vs Portugal: The USA’s second match of the group stage averaged 18.2 million viewers on ESPN, making it the most-watched soccer game of all time in America.
Compared to MLS: Sounders FC’s average attendance of 43,734 at CenturyLink Field was nearly twice as much as the second-highest average in 2014 (Toronto FC: 22,086).
Compared to World: Seattle’s average attendance ranked 27th in the world and second highest among teams not located in Europe. In 2014, an average of 43,734 fans would have ranked sixth in the Barclays Premier League, fifth in Spain’s La Liga and second in Italy’s Serie A. The graph shows the five highest average attendance marks in 2014.
Sellouts: At the end of last season, Seattle had 107 consecutive sellouts for MLS matches at CenturyLink Field.
Full-Stadium Matches: The club is 12-1-3 in home matches where the attendance is more than 40,000, including a 4-1-0 record last year. Furthermore, Sounders FC has won eight of its 10 games played in front of more than 55,000 fans, outscoring opponents 19-3 in those matches.