Hojun Sung, Brian M. Mills and Michael Mondello
This paper estimates determinants of local market television viewership demand for Major League Soccer (MLS). We examine the effects of team quality and outcome uncertainty and compare our estimates to recent work on the determinants of MLS attendance. We find that local viewership for MLS is not particularly sensitive to uncertainty over game outcomes. However, we do find effects of local team quality and visiting superstars on viewership levels. The results also exhibit evidence of pure substitution effects where viewership transfers to attendance demand as the season progresses, and in which viewership is substituted for attendance in the face of sellouts or poor weather conditions. Team strategy and league policy implications are discussed, along with directions for future research on MLS and local viewership demand.