Fox Soccer Channel Ratings Surge For Premier League Games

Fox Soccer Channel logoFox Soccer Channel’s TV ratings for the past year have been released, which reveal how many viewers the channel has been getting for Premier League, Serie A, Major League Soccer and other leagues and programs.

Fox Soccer Channel began being rated by Nielsen on October 1, 2008, so it’s perfect timing to reflect how the numbers for Premier League coverage have grown by 69% in the past 12 months.

Here are the Premier League matches which have garnered the highest TV ratings for Fox Soccer Channel:

2 09/20/09 Chelsea-Tottenham 296,000
3 08/29/09 Man U-Arsenal 294,000
4 10/25/09 Liverpool-Man U 282,000
5 04/19/09 Man U-Everton** 261,000
6 10/04/09 Chelsea-Liverpool 253,000
7 09/12/09 Tottenham-Man U 246,000
8 02/01/09 Liverpool-Chelsea 230,000
9 08/09/09 Man U-Chelsea*** 227,000
10 10/17/09 Sunderland-L’pool 225,00
  1. Chelsea v Tottenham, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009, 11am ET, 296,000 viewers
  2. Man United v Arsenal, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2009, 12:30pm ET, 294,000
  3. Liverpool v Man United, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2009, 10am ET, 282,000
  4. Man United v Everton [FA Cup semi-final], Sunday, April 19, 2009, 10am ET, 261,000
  5. Chelsea v Liverpool, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2009, 11am ET, 253,000
  6. Tottenham v Man United, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009, 12:30pm ET, 246,000
  7. Liverpool v Chelsea, Sunday, Feb. 1, 11am ET, 230,000
  8. Man United v Chelsea [Community Shield], Sunday, Aug. 9, 2009, 10am ET, 227,000
  9. Sunderland v Liverpool, Saturday, Oct. 17, 10am ET, 225,000

Out of the above ratings, the ratings for the Chelsea against Tottenham game are surprisingly high especially because Chelsea haven’t been generating a huge amount of TV viewers for the Premier League games shown on US television by ESPN2. Maybe the Tottenham supporters were a large reason why that particular London derby game had higher than usual ratings?

But to me, the biggest surprise is that the Liverpool versus Manchester United game didn’t garner more viewers than it did especially with so much riding on the game for two of the biggest clubs in world football.

While Fox Soccer Channel’s ratings are impressive overall, they still don’t surpass the ratings for the top Premier League matches shown on ESPN2. But to be fair, ESPN2 has far more subscribers than Fox Soccer Channel which is in 34.7 million homes. ESPN2 is in more than 89 million homes.

As far as the average number of viewers for a Premier League match in 2008 compared to 2009, Fox Soccer Channel had over 84,000 in 2008, which has grown to 142,000 viewers per match in 2009 — which is less than the lowest rated ESPN2 broadcast of the Premier League this season.

How does the Premier League TV ratings on Fox compare to its Major League Soccer and Serie A ratings? In October 2009, MLS games averaged 51,000 viewers per game, while Serie A games have been averaging 49,000 in 2009.

Ratings from other Fox Soccer Channel programs show that the average number of viewers for Fox Football Fone-In has more than doubled in the past 12 months from 12,000 to 25,000. Fox Soccer Channel’s Super Sunday +, meanwhile, has seen a 252% growth in the average number of viewers from 21,000 to 74,000.

In other programming, Fox Soccer Report has seen the average number of viewers increase from 12,000 to 29,000 viewers. Sky Sports News’s ‘Through The Night’ has grown from 7,000 average viewers to 36,000.

In other news, Fox Soccer Channel estimates it’ll be in 40 million homes in 2011 thanks in part to the launch of Fox Soccer Channel in HD in January, 2010 when the Saturday 12:30pm ET and Sunday 11am ET Premier League games are expected to be shown in high definition.

12 thoughts on “Fox Soccer Channel Ratings Surge For Premier League Games”

  1. I think the Chelsea numbers are high for three reasons. First off, the FSC games were later in the day. I had to wake up at 4:30am to watch these games here in Los Angeles (and that was after getting off work at 2am). I can’t see a lot of people, who are not Chelsea supporters, wanting to wake up that early, even the East coasters. I’m sure many DVRd the game, but sadly that does not count towards Nielsen ratings.

    Second, I’m more surprised that the Liverpool game against Chelsea didn’t draw higher numbers than Tottenham. Those two match-ups were a lot better than Hull, Burnley, and even Aston Villa.

    Finally, and this probably can segue into a whole other topic, but I think Chelsea have a stronger, growing fan base in this country than the other big four teams. Sure, when you ask the average American what they know about the English Premier League they’ll probably say Manchester United, but think about the past 4 years. Chelsea have actually made an effort to build relationships with US fans by having US summer tours. They’re the only team consistently going after the US market while the rest of the Premier League focuses on Asia.

    I hate to make the ethnocentric argument, but while it’s great Man U and Liverpool are after over a billion people in Asia…how many of those people are viable consumers? In the end, it’s probably about the same as North America and I think focusing on the US is paying off for Chelsea.

  2. This is great news. Let’s hope this keeps growing. On a side note, I’m surprised Serie A is getting so little viewers. I hope FSC buys the rights to the Serie A because they expire after this season. It would be a shame if I couldn’t watch Serie A.

  3. The Serie A numbers may have to do with timing – most of the matches are shown on Sundays, which are big (American) football days in the U.S. I’d be curious to see if there was a difference in the ratings between Saturday Serie A matches and Sunday ones (although there is a larger Sunday sample size).

  4. @Panda… I agree that probably many more people may have TivO’ed/DVR’d some matches (as I do many times), hence that system by Nielson only tells part of the story.

    BTW, I don’t know anyone who has ever had a Nielson box, in fact I don’t know anyone who knows anyone who has had a Nielson box. Definitely think that that system is seriously flawed.

    F1Mikal in NYC via BDA

    1. The Nielson system does take DVR-ing into account, but is a complicated affair dependent on how soon after the live event the DVR event is watched, all of course driven by advertising.

      I remember a poster saying he had lived in a Nielson houselhold. That’s close. :-)

  5. Living in a Nielson’s house, I can confirm that they do take into account recorded, or “time-shifted”, viewing of programs. They also keep track of how many people watch live TV versus recorded TV. This was one of my first questions for them as I hardly ever watch live TV, unless it is the local news or sports.

  6. All things considered it looks like its the same audience for both networks. ESPN’s larger numbers, when they exist, can be accounted for by reaching 3 times the homes of FSC. Having said that it appears that FSC has benefited the most with ESPN’s recent foray into football. Fox has UEFA CL and the EPL…2 of the three crown jewels of world football. I wouldn’t be surprised if they nick the 3rd (World Cup) from ESPN soon. I thought I would be over the moon when ESPN obtained EPL rights, but let’s face it, they’re not that interested in the EPL. If they were they would be advertising it like poker.

  7. I think something is wrong with Neilson’s numbers.

    If FSC is in 34 million homes. And I can think of over a dozen people who watched the ManU-Liv game. But only 290,000 watched it? I don’t believe it. I don’t believe that of the 34 million subscribers, less than 1% watched that game.

    There needs to be a better way to track viewership. Maybe through the digital cable box, i don’t know. But I’ve never known 1 person who is a Nielson participant.

    But the numbers just don’t pass the straight-face test. I think they’re much higher.

  8. well you have to pay to unlock the channel which most people cannot afford,atleast if it was just free ratings could have gone up even 6 to 7 million every saturday and sunday

  9. Which service providers have announced that they will be carrying FSC HD at launch in January? I would think D* would be a lock, but for those with other providers (I have FIOS), sometimes they are slow to add the station.

  10. the hatred for serie a continues. first off, serie a is shown on rai international. second, if you combine the fsc and rai numbers, i know they will be higher than epl and la liga combined. but we’ll never know will we, being that rai is not nielsen rated. rai has 4 million subscribers in us and canada plus its global. i’ll say this if you subscribe to rai, its because of calcio. by the way, where are the stats for fsc listed?

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