How HDTV Attracts Higher TV Ratings For Soccer Games


Given the choice between watching a match in high-definition television or watching a game in standard definition, which one would you choose? What if the choice was, like last weekend, Liverpool against Burnley in HD on ESPN2 or Manchester City versus Arsenal in standard definition on Setanta Sports?

For me, I’m more likely to watch the HDTV broadcast first and then watch the standard def game on DVR later. And that’s exactly what I did this past weekend except that after the first quarter of the game at Anfield, I tuned the channel and joined the Manchester City in progress because the Anfield game was too stop-and-start for me.

Right now, I feel like it’s Christmas time for a football supporter in the United States. With the mind-blowing of games available to watch on television each week (thanks to the addition of a ton of Champions League content courtesy of Fox), there hasn’t been a better time. And just like at Christmas time, I want to play with the new toys first — which is why I’ve been watching Premier League games first on ESPN2 before watching the other EPL matches on Fox Soccer Channel or Setanta Sports.

As a result, ESPN is benefitting from having its Premier League matches available in HDTV. That’ll definitely help out the network for the beginning of this season but I’m sure the appeal of HDTV will start to rub off a little in January when Fox Soccer Channel begins showing some of its games in HD.

The networks that will face a difficult time are Setanta Sports and GolTV. For GolTV, it’ll be sometime in 2010. Setanta Sports will most likely add HD broadcasts in 2010 also. Until they add HD, both networks may find themselves losing the interest of football supporters who prefer to watch the beautiful game on a beautiful HD screen.

All of the above is my hypothesis based on what I believe is happening among football supporters in the United States. I’d be interested to hear from you whether this is true or not. And whether you’ve been watching games you wouldn’t normally watch just because they’re in HD.

As a side note, does the same theory apply to the Champions League coverage? Some of the games are in high-definition, while many of them are in standard definition. Interestingly, it’s the high-profile games that are being shown in standard def, while the lesser attractive matches are the ones broadcasted in HDTV. Which ones are you watching first? Click the comments link below to share your feedback.


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