Beckham bow an ESPN record


The game might not have counted on the field, but ESPN's tallying a record for David Beckham's Los Angeles Galaxy debut.

Saturday night's Chelsea FC-Los Angeles Galaxy game averaged 1.5 million viewers, according to data released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research. It was the most-watched Major League Soccer telecast in the history of either ESPN or ESPN2. Beckham only played for 16 minutes but ESPN's telecast was the most-watched program of Saturday night among men 18-49 and men 25-54.

ESPN's previous record was for an April 4, 1996, match between DC United and San Jose Clash — the league's first game — that averaged 1.1 million viewers. It also was ahead of U.S. Soccer National Team matches, other than the FIFA World Cup tournament.

ESPN is planning several other Los Angeles Galaxy games featuring Beckham, including two each in August and September and one on Oct. 18. All will be on ESPN2.