The 2015 MLS season kicked off over the weekend. After a snow storm blanketed most of the Northeast, the Philadelphia Union were busy clearing the field and surrounding areas for Saturday’s home opener against the Colorado Rapids, While the Union went up a player and couldn’t find a goal partly due to Clint Irwin’s heroics in net, they drew well on television.
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Their home opener drew an average rating of 1.5 with it peaking at 3.2 for the last 15 minutes of the game. Maybe more people turned in towards the end hoping the Union would find the goal or changed over knowing the local news would be on afterwards. Nonetheless, this was a historic rating as it was the highest in team history.
What exactly is a 1.5 rating mean? Nielsen has a good explanation of that and an excerpt of their explanation is below.
"That’s an estimate of the percentage of the audience watching a particular program. If “Channel 6 News at 6:00″ has a household audience rating of 15, that means Nielsen has estimated that 15% of the market’s household audience is watching it…A household audience measures homes, not people. So technically, “Channel 6 News at 6:00″ is on in 15% of homes — one person might be watching in one home, four in another. The household measurement doesn’t take into account that difference.And so, the Union’s 1.5 rating means 1.5 percent of the households in the Philadelphia broadcast market were watching the Saturday’s game. (A broadcast’s rating is different from its “share,” which is “is an estimate of the percentage of how many households using television are watching the program.” And so, “If “Channel 6 News at 6:00″ has a market share of 30, that means 30% of the homes watching TV at 6 o’clock are watching that newscast. This number eliminates those cooking supper, at the movies or doing anything else.”)"
Essentially 1.5 percent of the households in the Philadelphia market watched the game on average. Obviously, this doesn’t include the 18,000 paid attendees at PPL Park. While this isn’t a big marketshare, it is a positive step for the sixth-year MLS side. It also helps that more local television networks and websites are covering the team and MLS as a whole.
CEO and Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz was ecstatic by the news.
"“Our passionate and growing fan base combined with continuous improvement of our broadcast production quality obviously is being rewarded with these outstanding ratings increase,” CEO and Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz said. “While we already have an established brand name, we continue to grow on a daily basis and it speaks to the hard work of everyone in our organization and our great broadcast partners as we look forward to continued growth.”"
The Union’s next game is against Real Salt Lake and will be aired on The Comcast Network (TCN). It will be interesting to see what they pull in given that TCN is not an over-the-air channel for Saturday’s affair scheduled for 9:30 EST. For now, this is something the Union organization and their broadcast partners can build on as the 2015 MLS season continues.