Last week’s MLS All-Star game against Real Madrid drew a record number of television viewers in the United States. Shortly after the match, news was released that 2.1 million Americans tuned in to the event. That number surpassed the amount of people that watched the 2011 All-Star game, officially setting a TV audience record in the states.
The match will go down as one of the most memorable American soccer games of all time. Not only did a record TV audience witness the action, the game was sold out in Chicago. 61,428 soccer fans gathered inside Soldier Field to take in one of the more dramatic all-star games in history. The European Champions Real Madrid eventually survived MLS, winning 4-2 on penalty kicks.
Univision: 1,484,000 viewers
FS1: 420,000 viewers
The remainder of the audience watched the game on two different Canadian networks.
Real Madrid Edges Out MLS
The game itself was a huge showcase for American soccer. The match was much closer than experts had anticipated. Scoreless into the 59th minute, Real Madrid finally found the net as Borja Mayoral slipped behind the defense and beat MLS keeper Stefan Frei. Undeterred, MLS kept pressuring Madrid until tying the score in the 86th minute. Dom Dwyer closed out a frantic scramble in front of the keeper by knocking home a rebound. At the end of regulation, the score was 1-1.
This set the stage for a climatic penalty kick phase. Madrid was able to get by MLS with a 4-2 advantage in penalty kicks. Although the loss was a tough one to take, it was an enjoyable experience for the American players and audience as well.
Setting a TV viewership record was definitely a surprise. Just days prior to the match, it was announced that the sport’s biggest star, Cristiano Ronaldo would not participate in the Chicago spectacle. Even without Ronaldo’s presence, the United States’ TV viewers displayed their love for the growing sport.