Last weekend’s Premier League match between Manchester City and Chelsea, which was aired live on ESPN2 in the United States on Saturday, September 25 at 4:30am PT/7:30am ET, garnered a 0.3 rating and was viewed by a TV audience of 428,000.
The game featured the debut of host Rebecca Lowe alongside pundit Steve McManaman as well as commentary from Ian Darke and co-commentator Stewart Robson. The 428,000 number is quite impressive given that the record U.S. audience for a Premier League game is 526,000 for last April’s Manchester United versus Chelsea clash.
For context, “MLS games on ESPN2 are averaging 257,000 viewers for 18 telecasts through Aug. 17, down 9.5% from 284,000 viewers through the same period last year (17 telecasts) and down 10.1% from the same period in ’08 (16 telecasts),” according to Sports Business Daily. It should be noted that Major League Soccer games are generally shown in prime-time, while most Premier League games are shown during early morning weekend hours.
In unrelated news, Fox Networks just announced that Dish Network has dropped several regional Fox sports networks including FOX Sports Arizona, FOX Sports Carolinas, FOX Sports Detroit, FOX Sports Florida, FOX Sports Houston, FOX Sports Indiana, FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX Sports Midwest, FOX Sports North, FOX Sports Ohio, FOX Sports Oklahoma, FOX Sports Southwest, FOX Sports South, FOX Sports Tennessee, FOX Sports West, FOX Sports Wisconsin, Prime Ticket, SportSouth, and Sun Sports. Luckily, Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Soccer Plus are unaffected.