Thanks to an exciting World Cup and an unexpected run from the U.S. Men's National Team, professional soccer appears to be having a real moment in the United States. ESPN and Univision have seen huge numbers for U.S. games. Nielsen ratings put the U.S. and Portugal game at 24.7 million viewers, making made it more popular than this year's NBA finals.
And while some have attributed the bump to nothing more than the allure of soccer's biggest stage, Major League Soccer argues it is seeing stronger engagement than ever before inside the United States.
Chris Schlosser, the MLS's vice president of digital, told BuzzFeed that interest in the MLS has "skyrocketed" in the past month. Most notably, Schlosser said that since the World Cup began there has been a 300% jump in subscriptions to MLS Live, the league's subscription package that includes streaming for all regular season MLS games. (Schlosser said that MLS does not release specific subscription numbers) The league has also seen its website's monthly unique visitors multiply threefold — to a total of 6.6 million in June.
The package, which normally goes for $64, was reduced to $32 on Thursday as a mid-season special.
It's just a single data point (and a somewhat vague one at that), but one that seems to go against the argument that U.S. audiences only care about soccer when it's played on the highest international stage.
A previous version of this story attributed quotes to Sean Dennison when in fact the statements were said by Chris Schlosser.