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Atlanta United’s MLS Cup win highest rated final in 20 years

The ratings are rolling in, and it’s no big surprise that it moved the needle.

MLS: MLS Cup-Portland Timbers vs Atlanta United FC Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday’s MLS Cup was a matchup between a pair of sides with some of the most vocal and passionate fanbases in the league. Unsurprisingly, the interest in the match showed on a national level.

According to ratings relased by FOX Sports, the Atlanta United/Portland Timbers final drew a 1.2 rating, the highest for the game in 20 years. It also saw a huge jump from the previous year’s edition between Toronto FC and the Seattle Sounders.

Steven Goff from the Washington Post released a market-by-market breakdown, and, of course, Atlanta and Portland led the way:

While these may not look like huge numbers, from a relative standpoint this is big news for the league. Having a pair of U.S. teams and one in a top 10 television market along with little competition from other networks on a traditionally slow TV-watching night helps, but some of the cities on this list - Milwaukee being the highest-rated city outside of Atlanta and Portland - coupled with the big jump over last year’s ratings shows that MLS of 2018 is a far cry from MLS of 1998.

Things can only get better from here. While Atlanta United are celebrating its first championship, there’s plenty for the league to celebrate today, too.