Chris Stearns

MLS 2018 Opening Weekend Was One For The Record Books

For some of us, like myself, Major League Soccer opening weekend is like Christmas day. It seems like eons pass between MLS Cup and opening day. At the start of every season, there’s a new storyline to follow. In 2017 it was the addition of Atlanta United FC and Minnesota United. This year it’s the debut of LAFC and how they may be stealing some of the shine that the Galaxy have held for so many years.

Being the MLS stan that I am, the league’s growth is something I always like to follow year over year. 2018 got off to a strong start with most home teams posting a growth in their attendance numbers from last year

Source: Soccer Stadium Digest













Better yet, ESPN announced that their telecast of Seattle Sounders v. LAFC posted the best overnight ratings for an opening match in three years. This uptick represents a 33% growth in viewership over last years Orlando City v. NYC FC match.

Over the last few years we have also seen a commitment by MLS clubs to create richer, more engaging social content. Leading up and during opening weekend, we may have seen some of the best social content ever created by the clubs. Here are a few we’ve chosen to spotlight

Next was a nice recap video that San Jose did to spotlight the performance of Danny Hoesen. Their newly signed striker scored two in the season opener which led him to be named MLS Player of the Week.

Next was the Vancouver Whitecaps who took a goal celebration scored by Kei Kamara to connect to the league’s fanbase. We’ve talked plenty about how MLS continues to find ways to connect to pop culture in North America, and this is just another example of a club making a nice graphic to drive that commitment home.

Speaking of graphics, MLS had this illustration made just before the weekend to spotlight all of the league’s personalities. The illustration brought home 3,500 likes and nearly 1,300 retweets. Can you name everyone in the picture?!

Lastly was a lead-in piece made by MLS spotlighting the league’s newest club LAFC. Interestingly enough, it used the club’s focal point, it’s hat, as the driver of the illustration. This cute piece brought home 22,000 views and over 500 likes.

All in all MLS 2018 opening weekend was one of the best yet. There are plenty more marquee moments to look forward to this season with Banc of California stadium and Audi Field opening later in the season! Personally, I can’t wait to see what else is in store! #MLSisBack

Categories: ESPN, Featured, Major League Soccer, Social Media, Stadium News, Television Ratings