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ESPN's MLS TV audiences up 32 percent in 2016

One of the perennial favorites on the laundry list of grievances is often-underwhelming audiences for Major League Soccer's national television broadcasts.

The American soccer community never runs out of things to complain about. Or at least that's how it seems sometimes.

One of the perennial favorites on the laundry list of grievances is often-underwhelming audiences for Major League Soccer's national television broadcasts.

Tuesday brought some news on that front, courtesy of ESPN:

Leading up to the 2016 MLS All-Star Game, this year's Major League Soccer matches on ESPN and ESPN2 have delivered an average audience of 312,000 viewers (227,000 household impressions), an increase of 32 percent in viewers (235,000) and 44 percent in television homes (158,000) from the same period in 2015. On WatchESPN, the E1/E2 average minute audience to-date this season is 12,000, an increase of 127 percent increase over 5,000 in 2015.

ESPN Deportes is seeing a 44 percent audience increase with an average 46,000 Hispanic viewers year-to-date in 2016, compared to 32,000 in 2015. Spanish language telecasts on WatchESPN had an increase of 20 percent in average minute audience to-date this season vs 2015.

"As we enter the All Star break, we are delighted to see such substantial year over year gains in audience across ESPN platforms and in key demographics for Major League Soccer," said Scott Guglielmino, ESPN Senior Vice President, Programming and Acquisitions. "We look forward to continue working with Major League Soccer to keep up the momentum as we enter a very busy Fall sports calendar."

ESPN noted the following demographic trends specifically:

- Viewership among 18-to-34-year-old men is up 22 percent this year.

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