Average TV ratings for the different leagues that Fox Soccer Channel broadcasts have been made public this week, and the findings make very interesting reading.
For the 2008/2009 season, the Premier League is Fox Soccer Channel’s top league averaging 90,000 viewers per game. Second highest were FA Cup games which averaged 75,000 viewers. Serie A was third with 51,000 average viewers per game. Major League Soccer averaged 44,000 viewers, while the just launched Women’s Professional Soccer league averaged 42,000 viewers. UEFA Cup matches averaged 41,000 viewers. Lastly, World Cup qualifying matches averaged 35,000 viewers.
How do the TV ratings for the Premier League on Fox compare against ESPN2′s ratings for MLS games? The February 1st game between Liverpool and Chelsea averaged 298,000 viewers. That game was aired on a Sunday at 11am ET (8am on the west coast). In comparison, MLS’s top rated game, which was between Seattle and New York at 9pm ET on March 19, averaged 327,000 viewers despite the fact that ESPN2 is available in 66 million more homes than Fox Soccer Channel.
While not a comprehensive list, here are the TV ratings for English football games during the 2008/2009 season that have been made public courtesy of Sports Business Journal:
- Liverpool v Chelsea, 298,000 viewers [Sunday, 11am ET, February 1, 2009]
- Manchester United v Chelsea, 243,000 viewers [Sunday, 11am ET, January 11, 2009]
- Manchester City v Liverpool, 224,000 viewers [Sunday, 10am ET, October 5, 2008]
- Blackburn Rovers v Manchester United, 199,000 viewers [Saturday, 12:30pm ET, October 4, 2008]
- England v Kazakhstan, 176,000 viewers [Saturday, 12:15pm ET, October 11, 2008]
- Chelsea v Everton, FA Cup Final, 163,000 viewers, [Saturday, 10am ET, May 30, 2009]
- West Bromwich Albion v Fulham, 81,000 viewers [Saturday, 10am ET, October 4, 2008]
- Bolton Wanderers v Portsmouth, 37,000 viewers [Saturday, 10am ET, December 20, 2008]
- Newcastle United v West Bromwich Albion, 19,000 viewers [Tuesday, 2:45pm ET, October 28, 2008]
The numbers are quite impressive when you consider that Fox Soccer Channel didn’t air many of the biggest Premier League matches of the 2008/2009 season. For example, Setanta showed the March 14, 2009 match between Manchester United 1-4 Liverpool, and many other massive games throughout the season.
While interest in the FA Cup seems to be waning in the United Kingdom, it’s encouraging to see that more people watch FA Cup games on average in the United States than MLS games on Fox. The 75,000 average was based on 24 different FA Cup games on Fox. While 44,000 people on average watched MLS games (of the 12 games shown by Fox through May 2009).
What for you are the most interesting numbers and observations you can pull from the above data? Click the comments link below and share your opinions.