Mike Koeshartanto

MLS Cup 2016: The Marketing Power of the Seattle Sounders

Congrats to the Seattle Sounders on winning their first MLS Cup over the weekend in dramatic fashion, beating hosts Toronto FC in penalties following a 0-0 draw. The club finally added an MLS Cup to their MLS trophy case, to go with the four U.S. Open Cups and one Supporter’s Shield they have won since entering the league in 2009. Here’s a few key takeaways from MLS Cup:

Rave (Green) Reviews of the Seattle Soccer Market

Earlier this year, we highlighted the Top Soccer Markets in the United States and just missing out on the top-five was Seattle-Tacoma. They are our sixth-ranked soccer market in the U.S. and that shouldn’t come as a surprise if you follow MLS. The Sounders have led the league in attendance since their arrival in 2009 and, as a result, had the top aggregate attendance across all soccer events in 2015. Scarborough backs up this claim as Seattle-Tacoma ranked second among markets who attended a game and seventh in markets who play soccer. Digitally, Seattle has the second-most searches for “MLS” on Google, tenth-most for “Premier League,” and the tenth-most FOX Soccer website views.

Those fans came out for the celebratory parade and rally on Tuesday, with estimates around 40,000 people in attendance. Head coach Brian Schmetzer even decided to walk with the Emerald City Supporters group during the parade instead of hanging out in the trolleys with the rest of the players and front office. While the Seahawks have been the dominant force in Seattle sports in recent years, the city has embraced the Sounders like few other MLS markets. This was the culmination of years of hard work and support and the celebration matched.

Record-Setting Television and Digital Engagement

We’re not too surprised at this announcement given the matchup between two of the biggest teams in MLS. Throw in the primetime TV slot on national broadcast Fox and a Saturday night, without going head-to-head against college football, and the Canadian television market due to Toronto’s participation. We were bound to see big numbers.

Big numbers is exactly what we received with more than 3.5 million viewers tuning in across the U.S. and Canada – an all-time record for MLS Cup. That also marked a 177% increase in viewers from the 2015 MLS Cup between Portland and Columbus. Additionally, the official MLS social media channels set MLS Cup records for largest digital audience, video consumption, and social media impressions.

Impressive numbers all around for the league and hopefully they can sustain the momentum of MLS Cup through the offseason and continue to grow television and digital into the 2017 season.



Header image via Brian Straus

Categories: Fox, Major League Soccer, Soccer Marketing, Social Media, Supporters Groups, Television Ratings