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MLS Cup final sets new TV ratings record in Canada

Over 1.5 million people tuned in to watch Toronto FC on Saturday - despite a huge decrease in French viewers.

MLS: MLS Cup Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

A remarkable audience of more than 1.5 million people on average tuned in to Toronto FC’s MLS Cup final against the Seattle Sounders on Saturday.

That figure is yet another record for MLS in Canada, with the second leg of the Eastern Conference final against the Montreal Impact averaging 1.4 million viewers.

That might sound like only a minor increase, but it’s a hugely impressive one when the reduction in French-language viewers - as a result of Montreal’s elimination - is factored in. The average viewership on RDS for Saturday’s game was just 92,000 compared to 519,000 for the previous fixture.

Having already shot up by hundreds of thousands of viewers from what we usually see in the regular season, TSN’s average was boosted 862,000 to 1.43 million from the conference decider to the MLS Cup final - a significant success for the network.

MLS: MLS Cup Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The peak audience reached 2.7 million when Roman Torres scored Seattle’s winning penalty. In total, 4.2 million Canadians watched some part of the match.

On a night on which the Toronto Maple Leafs played a Saturday night, primetime game against a divisional rival in the Boston Bruins that started an hour earlier than TFC’s match, the Reds commanded more than double the TV audience of the next-highest broadcast in the Greater Toronto Area, with a 35% market share in the city overall.

The match would have cracked the top 10 in Canada’s most-watched sports broadcasts in 2015 in a year which included an all-Canadian NHL playoffs matchup, a Toronto Blue Jays run to the American League Championship series, a FIFA Women’s World Cup and Pan Am Games on Canadian soil and Canadian appearances in hockey’s World and World Junior Championships.