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Wrexham’s ESPN2 debut averages more than MLS Decision Day on FS1

Hit TV series Welcome to Wrexham is having an impact on the popularity of Welsh soccer club Wrexham AFC. So much so that the viewing number for last Saturday’s FA Cup Qualifying Round game that aired live on ESPN2 was comparable to other recent soccer games on US television. In fact, Wrexham’s ESPN2 debut averaged 89,000 viewers, according to Showbuzz Daily.

And that number doesn’t include the significant (but unreported) viewing number who watched the game on ESPN+.

Wrexham’s ESPN2 debut sign of things to come

How does Wrexham’s ESPN2 debut against Blyth Spartans compare to the top-flight league in the United States, Major League Soccer?

On October 9th’s MLS Decision Day broadcasts, ESPN2 averaged 103,000 viewers, while FS1 averaged 54,000 viewers. The FS1 broadcast featured Orlando City SC against Columbus Crew.

For the 2022 MLS regular season, ESPN’s broadcasts averaged 343,000 viewers for games across ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. To get to that 343,000 average, 10 of those games were on over-the-air ABC.

What’s more remarkable is that Wrexham is in the fifth tier of the English soccer system, while Blyth Spartans are in the sixth tier.

It’s also worth noting that Wrexham’s ESPN2 debut was on a Saturday morning with the game starting at 8AM ET and 5AM PT.

ESPN riding Wrexham AFC train

Interest in the Welsh club is growing in large part due to club owners Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds, who have brought Wrexham into households across the United States courtesy of the Welcome to Wrexham show.

The popularity of the show has resulted in season two being greenlit.

Wrexham’s FA Cup replay against Blyth airs on Tuesday, October 18 at 2:45pm ET, live on ESPN+. ESPN2 will be joining the game in progress at 3PM ET.

Photo credit: IMAGO / PA Images