Fox Soccer Channel Averages 90,000 Viewers For Premier League

fox-soccer-channel1Average 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:

  1. Liverpool v Chelsea, 298,000 viewers [Sunday, 11am ET, February 1, 2009]
  2. Manchester United v Chelsea, 243,000 viewers [Sunday, 11am ET, January 11, 2009]
  3. Manchester City v Liverpool, 224,000 viewers [Sunday, 10am ET, October 5, 2008]
  4. Blackburn Rovers v Manchester United, 199,000 viewers [Saturday, 12:30pm ET, October 4, 2008]
  5. England v Kazakhstan, 176,000 viewers [Saturday, 12:15pm ET, October 11, 2008]
  6. Chelsea v Everton, FA Cup Final, 163,000 viewers, [Saturday, 10am ET, May 30, 2009]
  7. West Bromwich Albion v Fulham, 81,000 viewers [Saturday, 10am ET, October 4, 2008]
  8. Bolton Wanderers v Portsmouth, 37,000 viewers [Saturday, 10am ET, December 20, 2008]
  9. 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.

16 thoughts on “Fox Soccer Channel Averages 90,000 Viewers For Premier League”

  1. “it’s encouraging to see that more people watch FA Cup games on average in the United States than MLS games on Fox”

    That depends on your perspective. I think it’s disappointing that more people are watching ‘ENGLISH’ FA cup games than the USA’s domestic league in the USA.

  2. Steve, I beg to differ.
    I live in Asia half the year and more people there watch the EPL, NBA, and MLB than watch their equivalent domestic competitions.
    People prefer to watch a sport played at its highest levels.
    There is, in my opinion, not one MLS side strong enough to stay in the top flight in England.

    Regarding the viewer numbers, it appears FSC subscribers were insightful enough to know Newcastle and West Brom were going to relegated a mere 10 matches into the season!

  3. EPL is probably the best soccer you can watch, and obviously soccer fans would watch the highest level of play. MLS still doesn’t have the best players in the world, the prestige, and marketability of EPL, thus, it lags behind.

  4. you know i could careless about these numbers…I lived in a place here in the USA that i didnt get Fox Soccer Channel…and i was stuck here on the internet trying to watchin a crappy stream of the games and it sucked. Till I found out FSC was on another cable company in our area and i changed cable companys really just for FSC just so I can watch the everything they show. Mainly for the Italian Serie A and the Barclays Premier League. I am glad we have a channel like Fox Soccer Channel here in america to bring us this stuff. I dont normally watch the MLS games just everynow and then. I mostly tune in for the BPL and the Serie A but anywho.

  5. Juan makes`the best observation of anyone, nothing compares with the Mexican League in the US market. I was a little surprised by the overall numbers and felt they would be better, frankly, much better. Can those numbers possibly justify the huge $$$$ the Prem is asking for US TV rights? Not in my mind.

    Question put the 11:00am Sunday game on ESPN and tell me how much more does it draw? Is the more relevant # what the CL drew on ESPN this last season. For football programming to be a success in the US market does it need to appeal to the broad range of fans, ie: CL and Euro, rather then English, Spanish, or Italian league, unless your the Mexican league?

  6. if ESPN gets it i won’t be happy because if they have been so aloof for so long and win the contracts by default it’ll be sad……

    FSC as been trying so hard to bring quality football to the yanks and should stay with them for the full contract w/ broadband as an extra charge. My big excitement is FSC will be having HD come january….that will be tots ma goats! Then i think they will have to become a non tier channel which will expand the viewership….

  7. Juan is generous…….FMF games if you combine the competing Univision and Telemundo matches (sometime even Azteca America or ESPN Deportes) average over 1,000,000 viewers every Sunday. MLS on Telefutura averages close to 300,000 on Sunday afternoons.

    So basically FSC’s numbers for the Prem are very impressive by English language standards in the US but garbage by the high bar set on Spanish language TV where most American footy fans get their fix of the beautiful game.

    The Prem is the highest rated league on English language american TV which is too bad for the domestic game. MLS, USL and our national team could use the spotlight and the fans the English game are stealing from our country.

    1. To be fair though, Premier League matches in the United States are available on cable and satellite while FMF matches can be picked up on television sets with rabbit ears (at least for the time being).

      A big advantage of Mexican soccer is accessibility. Not everyone can afford to pay for the sports package on cable to get Fox Soccer Channel. And fewer people can afford to pay for the expensive satellite packages, let alone adding the Setanta package on top of that for an additional $15.

      If Premier League matches were shown on ESPN or free-to-air stations, the gap in ratings between the Premier League and FMF would quickly be reduced, although I’m sure the Mexican league would still top the ratings game.

      The Gaffer

  8. I wonder what the ratings are for ESPN’s weekend-morning outdoors shows, and whether broadcasting EPL games in those time slots would affect the overall viewership.

  9. Maybe some genius will decide that its time to broadcast mexican league games in english in the USA. I would love to see that on FSC or anyplace for that matter. The mexican league is a bit dirtier than Serie A, but very exciting to watch. I’d rather see those matches than Wiggan v Bolton or some other such snooze fest.

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